“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many times will you remember a certain afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems so limitless.”
(from the film The Sheltering Sky)

Today was my last day at General Hospital; this is my last week living in the city. I'm getting older, and goodbyes are getting harder.

Oh San Francisco, beloved city, you've torn me up, spun me around and flung me. & I don't know down from up anymore.


You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don't even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment. All the immense
images in me-- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected
turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods-
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house--, and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,--
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled,
gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows?
perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, seperate, in the evening...


what good are words now

"peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it's like telling someone murder is wrong
& then showing them by way of execution
when justice is bought and sold just like weapons of war--
the ones who always pay are the poorest of the poor"
-Derek Webb


page france / junkyard

I was born to lie here patiently
Be dragged on by the black star
And you were told to glow majestically
And love until your hands bleed

You stole your mother's whitest gown
Swallowed like a sunbeam
And I stole your father's crusted crown
It shook us like a bad dream...

Oh my royalty my hand goes out to you
You look painfully true
But I saw you cry
Like you used to laugh
When you looked around
Were you looking back?


quaker oats, loaf of bread, groceries against tired feet
the cutest old man i ever met
staring at the same articles & advertisements on the smallest of newspapers
& alternately drifting off, tired head wavering gently to rest on my shoulder

checkered beret with long white beard
suspenders and dress clothes (in which to grocery shop?)
as if it's Eastern Europe in the 1940s
(but last I checked we were just riding the #33 through the Mission)

slight of stature, trembly and exhausted
but clear-eyed, deliberate:
each movement infinitely slow, shaking, intentional

oh shining old one!
do you know how held you are??
how cradled, how beloved!


your eyes, they sting
this incense burns
this holy of holies is too much

& you can't draw the curtain,
can't enter the tabernacle

you shut your eyes,
you try not to breathe

you can't think of patients covered in feces
can't smell them soaked in piss
can't see this rotting flesh, these gaping wounds

keep the curtains closed! keeps the curtains closed!

you're covering your eyes, you're crying out
your mouth uttering gasps (of its own accord?!)

& how can you be grateful for something when every second of it hurts you-
when every moment is ripping you, is tearing out your heart?

i loathe walking into hospital rooms,
the feeling of invasion, of entering someone's private place,
someone's tiny sacred-space,
& what remains of dignity

keep the curtains closed!

but a whisper beckons us into the holiest of holies
a whisper leads us back again and again.


of north beach & little italians

This one with the dark eyes who rides a bike all over Los Angeles came to visit me this weekend.

She was balm for my cracked heart.

You should probably get to know her.


Monday: work 9-3:30. Break up fight outside hospital.

Tuesday: class. Finish double essays.

Wednesday: work 10-5, in psych ward. Zen hospice training.

Thursday: work 7:30-3:30, attending multi-faith domestic violence seminar.

Friday: work 9-5. Nelly comes to visit from LA! Wind up in cafe in the Mission watching husband/wife band The Cobalt Season.

Saturday: start research essay--Misogyny in the Church. Due Tuesday.

Sunday: say goodbye to Nelly. Run. Meditate. Do some push-ups in preparation to dive into patriarchy, gender constructs, Catholicism, and Tertullian. Breathe.


lavender cobwebs

let me tell you a story, son,
about last friday, at the mosque
we covered our hair and torsos, bright flaming scarves
we knelt with the other women, we greeted the men
we shared rice and lentils and sodas with the leader afterward
taken aback by the unassuming hospitality
so many of our perceptions shattered, we were welcomed.

let me tell you a story, daughter,
about wednesday in the psychiatry ward
the lady talking to us with towels covering her face
the whispered curses by the walking ill
the one obsessed with death

and her, called Dreamer, confirmed catholic & white witch conglomerate,
interested in buddhism & physics,
smart & young & manic

and him, facing the window, legs crossed
radio-headphones-set covering both ears
and i can hear kelly clarkston blaring from across the room

and i breathe. i breathe so i don't die.