Sunday, September 30, 2012

with a body made of stars

with a body made of stars

pull the muscle back.

expose the slippery tear,
 knit it together
with words that coo
 and beat.
it is the chest and perhaps

something flutters

the location of my desire is
a cage of bones or bricks.

let's forget

those deceptions,
they afford protection.

the living breathing mess of
reaching and
lives planted in the base
of spine
and belly,
all of it.

i am a body

/goosebumps and rapid
breaths/ i climax and shake.
     nerves, night
vision, fretful

to disguise so much

i am all pores.

these functions move together:
attraction and prediction.
     circadian cycles/ spontaneous injuries/ surprise visits

the future hovers with dream ghosts,

lovers outlive
my lust and commas


we shift
into longing
& exclamation points

i began
writing with my
teeth and tongue?


Saturday, September 29, 2012

rumi in tall grass

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

places such as these

places such as these

sad popcorn, buttery carnival
eyes, stalls of striped
amusement, a
waving with
fingers plunking change
into hats of buskers while the keyboard
gets tickled with french frenzy
the kissing booth sits
empty for a break
down or up
these are
in a clown
full of cars at
intersections with
radios turned up,
cacophonies, flags flipping,
face painted with an island of
maps, a pirate's bird, the pair of sunglasses
blooming from giddy flushed
cheeks, a dirty dance with street
performers, i can tell
the secret now i
can say it for
certain this
is fertile
colorful and
tragic it is unlike
itself always the next
twist of the moon with ladders
and treetops you can tell it
to sleep or sleepover
or to slip away and
still it will
and pop it will
and blow


Sunday, September 23, 2012

autumn equinox

part one:

autumn equinox rolled in sleepily, catching me under blankets, under the weather.  my epic continuous to-do list blew out of my head, a breezy day shaking closed windows.  curled in bed with gus the cat, i meditated about the approaching sickness, sensing my way towards the best route back to health.  take the day slow, i heard.  make soup, make tea, take a hot shower.  read.  bake.  stretch.

so i listened, and let my day of empty cool weather fill slowly with warm, easy movement, music and words, hot water.  i left all the shoulds under the pillows, to be picked up again at a different time.

i turned on the stove, chopped onions and cauliflower, hot peppers garlic and zucchini; junk soup was not an agenda item, it simply happened with my hands.  large cups of nettle ginger tea settled me while the finishing touches of september's music mix fell into place.  the shower was hot and long and i felt no guilt.  i picked up and put down four different books, finishing one and opening another for the first time.  somewhere in there, a private dance party occurred, as usual. 

in the evening, overtaken by sweet cravings and a desire to turn on the oven, i began folding together the ingredients for chocolate mint cookies, an established comfort food.  missing a key ingredient, a sunset walk to the store was inevitable.  upon arrival, i felt out of sorts, bright lights and people, interactions and choices.  somehow, i purchased items to make a linzer torte, and accidentally left without the mint extract.  i turned and headed back, this time without headphones and with a greater sense of focus.  back at home, the bowl of almost-finished cookie dough greeted me.

with the comfort baked into sweetness, the endless pot of spicy soup on the stove, the music mix completed, and nighttime all around, i wrapped myself again in covers, tulsi tea at my side, book in hand.  i slipped easily into sleep and dreamed of bombs almost going off, a quiet revolution under the surface of a country.  i woke up bleeding.

part two:

autumn equinox rolls the sun from virgo to libra, so perhaps it's no surprise that the combination of feeling sick, seeking warmth, and wanting to share food all rolled into a deep longing.  a desire for relationship, but more specifically, a romance, a partner. 

i walk often around town with my headphones, daydreaming about to-do lists and creative projects, moving my head to beats, letting my heart swell to melodies.  often i muse about romantic longings, and, like sandpaper, they rub up against the very real busy-ness that is my daily life.  for many many months, i have asked myself if i have it in me to give what i seek, to offer what i need/want/wish for.  the answer is often a painful no.  i don't create the necessary space in my life for this.

almost every day, my calendar is filled from the moment i awaken until i go to bed at night.  i hardly get enough sleep, believing i can catch up next season.  in the last year, i have started to prioritize the solitude i need.  it took me a long time to realize how many hours i must set aside for myself, simply to think/write/meditate.... a lot.  each morning, i prefer to wake up and write for over an hour, and i usually need another hour each day just to think.  this is best done sitting in my room or by the water & meditating, or going for a walk with my headphones.

the life list starts rolling in.... there are at least 25 big writing projects that i've half-started, not to mention the constant ongoing music-mix-making and friend packages i'm forever trying to mail.  then there are all my favorite confidantes that i crave time with, whether in person (in madison) or via phone.  there is music to be created, bands to start, guitars & drums & pianos to play.  there are sobrinos that grow so rapidly i get time-whiplash whenever we hang out.  there are lots of smart amazing talented people i want to get to know better, so many powerful speakers and workshops to attend (for free!) at the university, endless music shows and dance performances and fundraisers around town, birthdays to celebrate, you name it.

all this must come in between and around the three other major time-consuming parts of my life: my paid job (32 hours each week), my role as cooperative-owner of bare bones farm (12-24 hours each week), and my commitment as part of the groundwork collective (varies). 

the other day, i asked myself if i fill my life the way i do because i don't have the romantic relationship(s) i desire.  then i realized how this has actually been a habit of mine for a long time: constant productivity, busy patterns, so many things to juggle.  the difficult truth is that this was the gift and the curse that i brought into my last longterm relationship.  as a gift, i was often processing so many different experiences, learning and growing rapidly, seeking and stretching and taking on more and more.  like this quote i read last night: "'i change too quickly: my today refutes my yesterday.  when i ascend i often jump over steps, and no step forgives me that.  when i am aloft, i always find myself alone.  no one speaks to me, the frost of solitude makes me tremble.  what do i want in the heights?'" (from thus spake zarathustra)  my own self-determination is a gift that allows me to look inside as well as in multiple directions for the connection and validation i seek, not simply to impose this as pressure on one single person/partner.  i know that this is a strength i bring, and something i look for in others as well.

but i have also become highly aware of what a curse these workaholic, intensely productive patterns are.  the questions i wrestle with now are things like- have i internalized capitalism so intricately that i cannot separate my being from my doing?  am i hypervigilant with momentum to avoid the crash of inertia?  why does slowing down often lead me into depression?  at what point does my individual sense of stress leak into the lives of the people who care about me?  how does my pace and drive to process things quickly (and change rapidly) put pressure on others?  how does my workaholism leave no room for the spontaneous? have i become too serious?  too isolated?  do i allow things the time to unfold at their own pace, or am i constantly pushing?  how can i transform my tremendous guilt when friends and family want more of my time than i have to offer?

so i get it now.  i have a lot going on in my mind most of the time.  i hold myself to particular standards, i don't like my time to be wasted, and i create a life where i am always learning something new.  i am an intense creature.  this often bothers other people, as intensity is a quality that others are either drawn to or repelled by.  i believe my drive to constantly move, produce, and explore comes from a deep passion and creativity, a longing to be fully living my life.  the irony is that it often keeps me from being fully awake and alive in the moment.  i am forever reflecting on the past or chasing something into the future, seeking depth and expansion elsewhere.

so on the autumn equinox, it all lies bare.  a day of slowness & spaciousness stirs up the fierce longing in me, for sweetness, tenderness, companionship, silliness, care, compassion, connection.  when all is pulled away, the simple days of warmth, food, books, and blankets are ones i want more of.  true nourishment. 

i send this wish now into the magic of the equinox: help me make more space in my life like this.  then tell romance to come over, like lightning.

"'this tree stands here alone on the mountainside; it has grown up high above man and animal. and if it wished to speak, it would find no one who understood it: so high has it grown.  now it waits and waits - yet what is it waiting for?  it lives too near the seat of the clouds: is it waiting, perhaps, for the first lightning?'" (nietzsche)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

a gift

The Uses of Sorrow
by Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Friday, September 21, 2012

when i wrap myself in contradictions

when i wrap myself in contradictions

it was brilliant. the line
ran into the cavity
before sleep, sorta perfect
and fleeting

yet look! the words tumble
and spit out ALL
CAPS without knowing
how these little things piss
in the breeze and blow

words will wrap me in thin
paper, bones of another season
that rattled warmly, a fan
blowing the sticky air
outwards, hot thunder
on a drifting day

i burned my tongue
imagining winter, a casual frost
bitten onto delicate parts,
these are the senses.

today i realized i am in love
with this unfamiliar world.
i open my mouth, everything is
wide wide awake, soaking
and steeping. a car horn
shakes inside me, i peak
and shudder.

why is the relentless brain
chasing dyads into dust?
with two hands i lock myself
behind the door, the pores
close on themselves with bandhas
and mudras. soaring and seeking,
the breath breaks its own
bread, it's own body.

there is yes


Tuesday, September 18, 2012



snow is romantic
when it lands on eyelashes yet
this is the season of the freezing
and frozen, my hands like
vegetables in an icebox

the memory of warmth

this is not a tropical
kind of winter, complete
with choppy waters & chattering snowbirds

the air is dry the skin is dry
the ground is wet
with snowflakes not caught
in mouths, in hair,
in pockets

we hide in houses
huddled with heaters and cats,
piled with blankets, cups of tea

a slippery season, how can i
confidently walk? with steady
boots on, cautious developed

this is a romance, a remembrance
the dates i take alone
make my heated heart


Monday, September 17, 2012

hand games by marge piercy

Intent gets blocked by noise.
How often what we spoke
in the bathtub, weeping
water to water, what we framed
lying flat in bed to the spiked
night is not the letter that arrives,
the letter we thought we sent. We drive
toward each other on expressways
without exit. The telephone
turns our voices into codes,
then decodes the words falsely,
terms of an equation
that never balances, a scale
forever awry with its foot
stuck up lamely like a scream.

Drinking red wine from a sieve,
trying to catch love in words,
its strong brown river in flood
pours through our weak bones.
A kitten will chase the beam of a flash
light over the floor. We learn
some precious and powerful forces
can not be touched, and what
we touch plump and sweet
as a peach from the tree, a tomato
from the vine, sheds the name
as if we tried to write in pencil
on its warm and fragrant skin.

Mostly the television is on
and the washer is running and the kettle
shrieks it's boiling while the telephone
rings. Mostly we are worrying about
the fuel bill and how to pay the taxes
and whether the diet is working
when the moment of vulnerability
lights on the nose like a blue moth
and flitters away through clouds of mosquitoes
and the humid night. In the leaking
sieve of our bodies we carry
the blood of love.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

what the point

When Saul Williams was asked what the point of poetry was, he said: "I'm making this up, I have no idea but here we go. I think that it would be to express, to share, to relieve, to explore" and that "for me, poetry offers some what of a cathartic experience. I am able to move through emotions and emotional experience particularly, you know, break-ups, difficulties in all the things that I may face, whether that is with an industry or a loved one or whomever, there needs to be an infiltration process, like you have a window open over there. That is the purpose of poetry: it is the window that opens, that allows some air in, some other insight, some other possibility so we can explore all that we feel, all that we think but with the space to see more than what we know, because there is so much more than we know". He also said "if I didn't open myself to the possibilities of the unknown, then I would be lost".

Sunday, September 9, 2012

cross my path

cross my path

look you're younger and self
protective self
aware i see it
running into my mind again
but it passes

through a window on a bus
somewhat searching and maybe shy
or maybe she
confused things
and that's the new look
breakup came into fashion

i knew those designs
my eyeglasses blocked out the faces
the public crying continued for months
but listen, these verbs have tensed into past
muscles clenched then finally

relaxed, sitting calm
in the lower abdomen, the lower spine
all unattached & gratefully deep

i fumble

this is the real deal the ready vein tapped and sturdy
an open palm an open tree

crosshairs, my heart

wish to know you slowly through
songs or silences but
it's true, i'm enamored
with my strange powerful sensual self

we have no arrangements
that we know of


Friday, September 7, 2012

song by adrienne rich

You're wondering if I'm lonely:
OK then, yes, I'm lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean.

You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely

If I'm lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawn's first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep

If I'm lonely
it's with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it's neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

i hear you

i hear you

she loves to share 
words but hates that refrain
tossed on the counter like loose change
from a pocket of inattentive speech

what this silly language
can manhandle who could
handle a womyn we trans
fer the manipulative
and become

haunting come
back not coercive but
confused, a book
of cursive letters reshuffled
hands fidget beads counted
something roars

like sugar & that
which no one holds
accountable no one
holds hands but such
things change terms

like partners or lovers
the one who risks the rewind
reminds the listener self
checks the interview clothes for wrinkles
combs hair with fingers
washes the rag from the blood

someone cries and pulls
at magnetic fate
someone brings someone else
all the way back
to original