It snowed before Thanksgiving, and the rain fell gently on our feast day
but after that, the ground grew dry as bones,
the thermometer registering merely single numbers.

Yesterday, we awoke to sunshine on the mountains,
a light jacket of snow covering the streets and buildings like white dust.

This morning, before sunrise, I opened the blinds to silence,
the quiet that comes only from inches of snow in our driveway, on our cars, plowed from the roads.
I am triple-layering everything, pulling on snow boots and heating thermoses of coffee and tea,
falling into bed long before midnight,
baking bread and granola and unfreezing large jars of applesauce,
reaping from what we chose to preserve.

"To be trustworthy in winter," as Darrelle says.
Well, I have already shoveled the driveway, the front steps, the mail carrier's route,
rolled collected pinecones in golden glitter to hang on yarn,
sawed down a fir tree from the woods on my parents' property.

And there is no telling, no, there is no telling,
just how long these months will feel in our bodies.

My bottom lip will split for many more dry days
my gloved hands beg lotion
my solitary existence want for companionship.

but for the reading of David James Duncan (and his most colorful words!)
the games of Speed Scrabble and Pinochle,
the bundled babes huddled in this market co-op,
the cedar boughs and late-night letters,
the pine and myrrh candles,

we will survive. And we will thrive.


till the rays of gold and honey cover you

{a future of forestry song playing on repeat in my house]

This chest is full of memories of gold and silver tears
I’ll give you more to own than all of this
And I’ll give you more than years
For you were once a child of innocence
And I see you just the same
Your burdens couldn’t win or lose a thing
Oh, I’d tell you once again,
But you’re always on the run

Slow your breath down
Just take it slow
Find your heart now, oh
You can trust and love again
Slow your breath down, just take it slow
Find your smile now, oh
You can trust and love again

If you leave I’ll still be close to you
When all your fears rain down
I’ll take you back a thousand times again
I’ll take you as my own
I would sing you songs of innocence
‘Til the light of morning comes
‘Til the rays of gold and honey cover you
In the sweetness of the dawn
But you’re always on the run

You’re not alone
You’re now a part of me
You feel the cure
I’ll feel the toil it brought you


That house, the one by the river, wooden
with windchimes and driftwood and rain on the windows

The river, called Siuslaw, was a wide mouth,
giant logs cast down, rapid and uncrossable.
In the enclosed porch, I sat quietly, fingered fishermen's twine, listened.

The weather today reminds of Bré, Ireland,
and the cliff path we walked all afternoon to neighboring Greystones.
I am back in Monteverde, Costa Rica, the Cloud Forest and its "cat whisker" rain.

I called for the orange kitten again today as I followed Cedar.
It did not come.
Perhaps it is curled up near a window inside.

Shiloh Hill smelled all of pine, damp and deep.
My bare arms were chilled, but I was adamant.
The mountains now deep green (only Dominion and the top of Paradis have kept their snow),
my footsteps sturdy and ears searching for the wind.


A little orange kitten bounding through the snow to Liz and me,
walking Cedar Loop
I picked it up, fingers on its belly, damp from snowflakes,
released it back at its driveway, voicing quivering mews.

And pitbull puppies at the Flour Mill when I went to pick up hay yesterday,
tiny and fast asleep. I pet them gently for a long time.

At the Vineyard today, 3-year-old Naomi let me hold her,
play with her hair until she whispered she was sleepy and laid down beside me smiling.

I don't know what it is about baby things, the way my insides feel all soft around them
(and I'm not saying this is necessarily a "Feminine" thing),
but one day I hope to stand in that grove of matriarchs,
to join the shining women who have been the glue of my life.


on my favorite park, and missing eucalyptus trees.

The Kettle Song (in the park)

Sounds of Lyon Fell | MySpace Video

Please check out my dear friend Trevor's latest project, music I honestly would love even were he not my friend. And if you happen to be currently living in San Francisco, try to catch a show!


"You haven't been writing much," he told me on the phone tonight.
On my blog, he means.

The pages in my notebook are information, processing, dissecting.
And who wants to read (or share) that?

At the meadows yesterday, I looked at the golden clouds in the west,
then the pink-lit tree tops of Dominion Mountain
and almost felt crushed by the beauty.
Tonight, also, Paradis Peak grew violet as the sun went down,
and I was paralyzed.

Now the sweat glitters on my palms,
invisible but for the light
And who, I wonder, will milk these sentences out of me,
will coax them from my breasts?

Words are wrought like iron,
must be mined as salt.
And sometimes I feel so empty-handed,
so naked and ill-prepared for this work.

The tossing of our sleep is in itself a language.


a picture is soon on its way...

Kate and I moved in to the Bird House! And it is wonderful.

And today I made the best, best discovery while walking by the cedars:

a Seventh Day Adventist health food co-op and bakery. About ten minutes from our front door, and less expensive than the natural market I normally frequent!



you know those days when everywhere you turn,
there is a wall?
and you are like, "i am 21 years old,
and i'm not going to freak out right now,"

but maybe you just want to be 12,
where someone else can decide things
and someone else can take care of you

i think my equilibrium somehow got tilted,
and all the letters in our story are mixed up
but i am drawn to you
and your still, small voice.


The sun still shines, but it presses wearily through fog and branches
The cat sleeps (I feel fonder of it than I used to)
Funny how we measure compatibility by feelings toward pets:
one dog, medium-to-large, outside, beloved.

Well I have made pumpkin into soup, steamed golden squash,
crushed apples into sauce and boiled jars in preservation.
I have crossed our field and picked apples as the sun went down.
My sister and I carried canvas bags
and I will not soon forget the image of her standing in the tree,
stretching to reach each apple.

I have read the words of a carpenter,
those ones that say there is a Shepherd who leaves 99 sheep
in order to find one who is lost and lonely,
in order to pick her up and carry her home.

And I think I want to scrawl Isaiah the poet's words on every wall and corner of my house

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
They will be called might oaks, a planting of the Lord.


In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
to say to the captives, "Come out,"
and to those in darkness, "Be free!"

They will feed beside the roads
and find pasture on every barren hill.
The will neither hunger nor thirst,
nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.
He who has compassion on them will guide them
and lead them beside springs of water.

Shout for joy, you heavens;
rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

But you say, "The Lord has forsaken me,
God has forgotten me."

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
And have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your image is always before me.


Well now,
Ciderfest has come and passed, and we finished the Harvest not three days ago.
I have heard the Canadian geese honking overhead,
and studied symbols of the coming cold in everything:
the tall mullen stalks aging brown and thin,
the yellow grass rattling in the wind at dusk,
the maples and aspen turning golden and deep red.

My hands are dryer than they've been in months,
(And I've been reading about the drought in East Africa, the worst one this decade)
Oh, forgotten lands!
But I will not forget you!

We have heard the Buddha saying, truthfully,
that to live is to suffer.
And maybe we can receive this even as we mourn the drought.

Maybe grief will grow on us like the changing of the leaves,
subtly at first, before we notice its overwhelming color.
For as long as we trade careful and authored farewells,
as long as I long for your hewn words,
I will watch the trees,
kayak glassy lakes,
miss you pensively.


on heartache. [digging out Over the Rhine again.]

I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love
I'm gonna learn to love without fear

Pour me a glass of wine
Talk deep into the night
Who knows what we'll find

Intuition, deja vu
The Holy Ghost haunting you
Whatever you got
I don't mind

Put your elbows on the table
I'll listen long as I am able
There's nowhere I'd rather be

Secret fears, the supernatural
Thank G-d for this new laughter
Thank G-d the joke's on me

We've seen the landfill rainbow
We've seen the junkyard of love
Baby it's no place for you and me

I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love
I'm gonna learn to love without fear


indian summer

We hiked as the sun went down:
the twilight was simple, pines silhouetting against dusk
the darkness came quietly, unobtrusively.

On the way down to the cave, the trail,
or rather, the overgrown bush and branches we crept through,
grew quite steep, and we slid,
our footsteps releasing small avalanches of rock and earth.

The mouth of the cave wasn't large;
planks connecting the outside with the deepness,
water lay beneathe.
(Much less in September than in July, David said.
It's been a long summer.)

I felt spaciousness and caverns,
but where light shone there were walls where I expected rooms,
openings where I expected rock.

We climbed one small chute beside a packrat,
rose to a cavern with distant ventilation hole,
found three bats flying.
All the timber-rat nests had me a bit on edge,
and I squatted, smiling, but shaky,
feeling the eerieness of dynamite holes and darkness.

The walk home, in deep night, took longer (we being slightly lost),
but we kept on, found that hillside field,
followed it to cabin-light.

Well now, the first day of autumn has arrived
but it is still 95 glorious degrees Fahrenheit.

The soccer season ended last night,
and I have said my goodbyes [to my team, to that boy]
and even [one very important] hello [oldest sister-friend].

and I will hold out my arms and welcome Fall,
I will gently let Summer go.


Fog covered sunrise this morning
evergreens and firs growing silently out of the white
we, dressed in down vests, thick socks, boots
strapped canvas bags to our shoulders,
huddled around trees picking Bartlett pears
red and green, we picked every one, climbing the hard ladders,
pouring the bounty into wooden, spidery crates.

My Dad and I walked through the field last night,
the now autumnally greenish-grey field,
counting pine saplings.
The dead and the survivors (only 55 didn't make it this year)
which leaves 200 to become strong Ponderosas--
the best numbers we've ever had!

My Dad, solemn and focused, counts carefully
(for him, tree-planting is no small responsibility),
credits the July thunderstorms, the blessed rain this weekend,
weather that redeemed an unnaturally hot and dry June.

The puppy, its big paws and young face, is growing so fast
soon it will be faithful and obedient
(oh, how I long for a dog)

I have studied so many sunrises and sunsets this summer,
have stood every day under a changing sky
have faced, despite sweet skateboarding and a boy I am quite taken by,
no small amount of loneliness.

But oh, I'm not finished finding stories on windy beaches yet!
My ear is to the ground [the song is in the soil]


you keep asking me what this means
what it means, what it means

that i was wearing linen when our sojournings crossed
that you were dusty, from living so long in a desert

and i met you in a dream carrying suitcases
flowing like water (my name, you see)
because it is the nature of water to want to be somewhere else

the trail turned this summer,
and i can see the autumn in the locusts, now,
i can feel it in the smoke

i told you, your skin was honey
but i can't stop coughing,
even bronze can be too much for these old eyes to see!

and i need the Spirit like the wind on my face
i've been searching for so long among these trees,
looking for the Shining one in so much refracting light
sometimes, dreams are life.


dark was the night

the way chickens run is all shoulders
speed of the neck, no arms
the preposterous stillness of the grouse
eyeing me warily
my eyes telling yours secrets my mouth will never speak

peace pie, peach cobbler, peach fuzz everywhere
these are the last days of jumping into the river

take one step nearer, two steps back
to him and even You
i need You like the sun rays on my skin
and he is reading my face
he is translating my body
he is looking me in the eye,

but he can never know me,
this i know,
oh, help me tell the truth!


three women may walk this road at any time of the day or in darkness,
carrying bowls of fresh-picked raspberries with shining eyes.
on the beach not far from me,
a boy has picked up a flopping, dead fish
now he swings it by the tail, taking ginger steps on the hot sand

he pointed out a heron to me, plucked his banjo patiently
recording deep layers of stratus clouds, the gentle ambling of a turkey flock
i climbed into tree branches to pick the plums
greeted the small quail scurrying at the edge of the road

oh my body, betrayer and sustainer
my hands, that have known work and yet remain soft
this is my summer skin, meeting yours as the rain falls down
rest your jaw on my clavicle
your calloused hands on my smooth back

i have seen the scenes and scenery stretched out like canvas over the pilgrims' west
have squatted like a hobo to drink soup from hand-thrown mug
have returned to a land as overwhelming as any i've yet seen

now i examine tree bark
now i stand tentatively under the waning moon


have been finding old pictures,
looking for them in the wake of my grandfather
my parents, like most pictures of our far-west parents,
look happy, beautiful.
pioneering through the 70s on a steady diet of simplicity and scenescapes.
pioneering through, for my mom at least, the overwhelming pain the 80s would bring

i can't stop looking at her face in these pictures--
her young face. (my age!)
her old soul, grey-blue eyes,
knowing more than her size and youth let on

her mouth, not smiling, but looking, smirking,
showing strength and tenderness and resolve
like she had an inkling not all ahead would be sunlight & bikini tops & ski trips with her new husband

now i think of these things sipping coffee
now i try to piece together who i am
and what this means.


r.d.b., 7 november 1929 - 31 july 2009.

My grandfather, my Cherokee patriarch, entered the next doorway, crossed the river far from here.
We are left in a dusky wake, a hole felt not acutely, but endlessly.

I do not know how to speak of these things--
of death, of the 60 years he and my Gramma shared,
of my Dad's restrained and tearless face.

"This is the first person I've loved who's died," my kid sister sobbed,
and she knew him eleven years less than I.

And oh, the stories. I do not want to forget the stories.
His knowledge of seemingly every road & river West of the Mississippi,
Our Mennonite grandfathers marrying our Indian grandmothers,
Walking the Trail of Tears, tarred & feathered & ran out of town.

His California, far-West roots, need for adventure, for space.
His curiosity, small-business schemes, invention-dreams,
smoky ambition and sorrow.
He invested in gold mining, read an astonishing number of books, traveled the world,
had a biker beard and ponytail, called my Dad every Sunday.

An orchard friend stumbled across paths with a black bear today, not 15 feet away,
and I wonder if maybe that is him,
still roaming our sweet earth.


summers in washington are like a dream
i've been going out with a beekeeper,
crushing cherries into wine,
painting porches and weeding fields and chopping wood

but i wanted to tell you about the dancing last night
the peasant skirts, chaco sandals
socks with birkenstocks
about nearly falling over under all those stars
and whispering ts eliot
listening to aspens shiver

yes, summer is strange and wonderful
and we will swim and bike and work and eat berries until we fall flat under the stars


the next leg of the journey

i hate goodbyes, i moan
well, you can't lock yourself in a room in the basement, dan says
we laugh at that, images of sitting in a room to avoid the inevitable separation,
food pushed through a small flap in the door

on this ancient, medieval wall (we climbed up it in the jasmine air)
where we can see more stars than i have seen since i left santa barbara
(but not as many as in my washington's sky)
with five new friends, thinking and whispering together

i can't help but feel my life is lived in airports
in those timeless in-between times
in greeting and in parting, in transition
and sojourning sure brings a lot of goodbyes.


on being apart

mary / alexa woodward
Mary was born in a southern snowstorm in the mountains of North Carolina
Her mother all alone in a little cabin in the woods...
It's a strange thing for a storm like that to blow through in the month of March
but Mary brought a sweet spring breeze...
We spoke of Kierkegård and Harper Lee and films I should see
and she'd read every book that had ever meant anything to me

Mary was a fire, and I am a fire, and you are a fire
I miss your flame

Mary was a preacher once
but she quit preaching so that she could love
and love is all she does these days
she asked what if God is real
what if God needs healing too
if the whole thing hinges on whether or not we could forgive her

The poets, they are a dying breed
in a world of steel and cold concrete
where so much is guns and money and things
When Mary is gone and the cities are ashes
and the empires are mythologies if anything at all

When I am dirt and stars
and you are dirt and stars
and the old soul children learn
to recognize each others pyres

Mary was a fire, and I am a fire, and you are a fire,
I miss your flame.


The Black Forest, Germany

The travels continue. We are now in a small village in southwest Germany, visiting my friend Claudia, who studies theology here at a seminary.

Claudia opening her birthday champagne.

Happy Solstice!

Bad Liebenzell

Claudia and Laurie

Have been drinking good tea and weak coffee like it's my job, and longboarding a lot, and hiking in the forests around the hamlet. And chocolate! The Germans love their chocolate! I can't wait to get home and eat vegetables and protein again... It's a bit difficult being vegetarian in Europe. I am growing rather tired of bread, even good German bread:p But all the community and chance to rest more than make up for it.


was it birth or was it death?

she sings she sings she sings her soul
even when she does not know the song

i will look you in the eye when we are talking
dearest darrelle taught me that,
and also a boy i know

"congratulations, class of 2006" (wasn't i just hearing that last month?)
what do three years mean?
days like this it seems the torah was literal in recording ages and years
"not one woman's life only, but a lifetime burning in every moment"

i only just met dr. delaney
he just convinced me to major in english
(and to think it felt so radical at the time!)

but tonight, it was goodbye.
goodbye, last undergrad essay
goodbye, london
goodbye, dr. delaney
goodbye (again), westmont.


"Ashes to ashes," a friend writes, "and all of life is leaving it. All of life is leaving it to find it again in something else. 'See,' Jesus says to me, 'don't I make all things new?' But what he means is, Don't I destroy all things to ash? Just when you're learning to love, don't I take it away, burn it, and smear it on your forehead in the shape of a cross?' "

Ashes to ashes. So we grow up.


Happy birthday, Kate!

She is my oldest friend, my true hermana. A traveler, an artist, and an (up-and-coming) midwife.

To 21 more years together, full of home-grown vegetables and painted murals, of adventures walking and many long hours talking over a glass of wine or a mug of tea. We burn at both ends.


[for you, for ever ago]

i do not know the dream in which i live, i suppose
this one you've written me of,
nor how to live any other way.

and you will know by now
that i can be, ahem, impulsive (might we say, dramatic?)
i tried to warn you of this--
that i am too honest, too often
or, as our ms. barrett-browning puts it,
"i cannot teach my hand to hold my spirit so far off"

but i wanted you to know
you are my brother,
and, if ever you knock again,
i will be your friend.



the scratch of a nearby man's charcoal, river scene translated to parchment
moves the pencil between my fingers
and quietly seconding the prayers, few and far between, of an aging woman
can calm a stormy, seasick heart.

these days are changing and swift, lit by silvery light
(and how am i still starved for words, for art, for friendship?)

on the path to anne hathaway's flowered cottage this morning,
sleeping ducks turned running footsteps to the softness of moccasins
silent i tread, not to wake them

in willows sweet, cooing pigeons roost in twiggy nests
and serene river banks itself in green, green, green
disguising the cholera, polio, & flesh-eating bacteria (what?!) it carries

when john fainted, he hit his head so hard he thought he was blind
i touched his arm, i held his hand. i was afraid.

now i meditate in graveyard, along dirty, pretty river,
across from manicured golf course
(oh, i long for wildness!)
but this will do, this tourist trap of a town, its scones and rich tea,
this will do.


The Great Game: Afghanistan; Tricycle Theatre, London

song for the taliban

stab out the eye (that reads)
cut off the fingers (that take)
slice off the ankles (that are seen)
beat the woman (who is raped)

but never, never, leave your old ones alone
never leave those without homes hungry
never leave widows ignored
(there are lessons to learn from you, in these things)

on blood-soaked poppy fields,
in immigrant districts like this kilburn
all i can think is, this
(this war, this exploitation, this history, this bastard child)
is so, so fucked up
and, come holy ghost

i don't mean to be offensive,
but these words lay down together on my lips
and that's all i got.


the blizzard's never seen the desert sands...

in washed-out fields of poppies, pale gold, dusty rose
your fingers against my throat
i will remember
your head in my lap
the smoothness of your back, red after every shower

and mourn for the swat valley, lahore, and peshawar
where, in such a wake, small things are forgotten

my eyes will still be closed when i see you again
but i will not forget


This morning I awoke feeling an excitement unexplained. In the streets of London, it all rushed back to me: last night my mother gave me a new name, a new middle name, like the ones Catholics receive at confirmation. It was hand-written on a piece of paper; it had come to her a long time ago, but she was just now telling me.

Though I am familiar with the word and interested in the idea, when she gave me this new name, I promised myself to look it up in the morning.

(1) a season of general joy.
(2) Every fiftieth year in the Mosaic calendar, being the year following the completion of each seventh sabbath of years, at which time all the slaves of Hebrew blood were liberated, and all lands which had been alienated during the whole period reverted to their former owners.

The year of Your favor. May everyone walking beside me know it in their blood and in their bones, this freedom of Yours.


for courage

Somewhere in the past year—a summer spent orcharding along the Columbia, a seasonless fall/winter/spring in my Santa Barbara home; a year full of trips to Bellingham, Seattle, Whidbey Island, Pasadena, Costa Rica, Mississippi, Alabama, New York, and now London; somewhere between two fires, two evacuations, and one graduation—I realize all the sojourning has poured exhaustion like milk into my bone marrow.

And while this is to say nothing of Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean, or quite how much I have loved our good, good earth and the many thousand faces and lands to which it has endeared me, the tent must still be pitched, and in mercy I will continue to build and abandon and rebuild nest after nest. But why not moderately? Why not with reservations, with jaded caution? I am not naïve, nor stranger to suffering, and I know You have melted my heart of stone, but does wisdom not demand a holding back of spirit? And yet this very practice remains foreign to me!

All this movement from friendship to friendship, from place to place, fills me with too much longing. How many more women can my heart be opened toward? How many more men? What else can possibly be grafted into my already deep and tangled roots?

Oh it's been years since I chose a (sometimes) lonely adventure over any storyless, comfortable life. But the work and joy of pilgrimage, or pilgrimhood, begs someone to walk beside.

These are days of relearning [that You are my closest friend].


[sunsets say goodbye: you've brought me this far]

in me like wire
you have grown, santa barbara
but i suppose this [east mountain walk, vineyard community, mission eve, jasmine]
is (really, for now)


difference is time / the mystic valley band

"Well, call me if you want to talk
There's a telephone on your wall
And the reasons are many and not too far apart
If there's some blood left in your heart

Difference is time
It's the best prison waiting in line
Difference is time
It's yours and it's especially mine...

It's hard to stand on my feet
With this weight of vagrancy
I've been trying to tell the difference
Between the road and my street..."


growing up

Addendum: we were evacuated a few hours after the last post.

But Graduation happened on time, and we celebrated among the ruins of carefully laid plans.

Because there is gratitude even in [our weak] adversity. And because yours truly now holds a Bachelor's of Arts in English. Rejoice!


the jesusita fire

Ten days of tears, and even several instances of the f word, and now graduation really is nearly (nearly) here. Fast and soon and crazy. The Jesusita fire has burned through almost 3,000 acres, and is only 10% contained. 5 of the people coming to see me walk the dais on Saturday will not make it now. My parents drove to Ventura tonight after being evacuated from their hotel and finding every other hotel in Carp and SB booked.

But we will make it, with strong doses of laughter and an increased appreciation for the ridiculous. Because this is how we grow up.


To dream of a time when spears will be beaten into plowshares
(while we are sick to our stomachs).

Shalom, Afghanistan.


for the sparrows and lilies

care for me, care for me
tonight where my brain should be, there is only empty space
and i need you.
and i

touch me, touch me, touch me
softly behind my ears
fingers on my collarbone
hands on my shoulders
weave my hair and hold me

oh, i'll take quiet steps through midnight courtyards
if you just promise me you're near.


ghosts teach caution, disappointment reservations
you & me are no stranger to these things

and in cryptic little poems, and barer letters with no addressee
insignificant confessions whisper
mostly, i like the way you move me

eucalyptus along barker pass,
palms by stearns' wharf,
mission lit skies in foggy rose gardens:
goodbyes come hard upon hellos

this much we know.
but we learn to stretch out our arms, anyway.


[for elle & t.]

i was in a valley called despair,
feeling more alone than i can say
you, you wouldn't have found me there
you were hardly looking anyway

now the setting sun sinks low
and we head out, solitary

oh, but if i had a thousand wildflowers,
i'd throw them at your feet

mountains of sand will disappear
while you keep on singing here
(and who knows if she'll be around?)

what can be done with dead leaves, you ask?
we'll have to burn them all
tie our cloaks in expectancy for the fire to come this fall

with blackened feet we'll run,
our mouths full of salt
we'll reach the highest heights in june,
pitch tents and watch
wait for flame to be put out.

i miss your hands the most.


swimming against the current

oh those nights
of unspoken promises and small disappointments and secret, unshed tears

i was burrowing for a while, back into that hole for foxes
but then your voice came from the earth itself

and i remember now, your name is Shepherd.


i'm just trying to be a human being

The Glass House, 15 April 2008

Everyone I see I think I've known before
From the opera house to the grocery store
My love for them I cannot ignore
Like a human voice in a quiet morgue

But I don't want to wear no dead man's suit
I don't want to wait until the moon turns blue
I don't want to dream if it won't come true--
If there's something in me, well, I guess it's in you

[Photo thanks to PennLive.com]


wake up, wake up, leave cotton dresses and chickens to the world of dreams
pull on stockings, slip blistered feet into stiletto boots, button pencil skirt

you are Serbia, delegate to UNIFEM, urban-savvy
there are no trees, no holy week, and you are inside, eternally
passing resolutions on violence of a seemingly imaginary nature,
inconceivable in the conference rooms of a 45-story hotel

but pay attention young one, to the little things
pho with new friends, snowflakes in april,
paintings at the MOMA which take your breath away

this is where honest gratitude must be larger than dreams
when night comes, you may meet them again


n.y.c. musings

underground tunnels grind and grate in subway chutes too narrow
can you imagine being stuck here?
deep breaths now, honey

in a world full of people far more important than you or me
it is a little hard to listen (am i going deaf?)
(but then who is important, anyway? a farmer grows our food,
because of first grade teachers, we can read)

to participate in your death, so that i may also participate in your life
even in your, the word is foreign in my mouth, resurrection

oh, but these things are frightening and far!


in central park, I'll find you
we'll walk through empty subway stations
and emerge in northern forests of green

walk & walk & walk
pick an aspect or a pine, and carve our names in the wood
if you'll follow me, i'll follow you
dirty streets, shining city, sunset west

be not afraid.


you can tell a lot about a man by his handwriting
you can find words unspoken by looking another woman in the eye
but both of these things are hard to come by

if i put on my grandfather's glasses, will i be able to see you better?

oh, tell me a story, of broken bikes and late-night jasmine
we'll sit in sand, hold wine in paper cups, and i'll listen

i'll learn to listen.


bring out your rake and hoe again,
ready your shovel for sowing season
we'll work all morning, or dream of it at least.

and when our shadows lengthen in the afternoon,
i'll pour you a sierra, we'll sit on front steps.

oh, it's been many years since easter eggs were hidden for our sakes
(but maybe if we just close our eyes a little tighter)

you are not being so clear with me
(but i can't say i hold it against you)
unfamiliar forests are still green
there is world enough, and time.


you burn right through my palms

what wisdom costs, we'll pay in pennies
but we'll pay, oh, we'll pay

when so much air conditioning has left wind meaningless
and grief has no place because suffering can't reach us

i'll pick lupins every morning though it may be scorned naive
i'll plant wildflowers in concrete jungles & i'll let tears fall over forgotten things

prophets are no stranger to sackcloth & ashes
and i'm not saying i'm a prophet (oh no),
i just want to tell the truth.


[you] stood too close to the sunset

Yes, yes, ridiculous, but fun. Even held at the Maritime Museum (with a sea theme)! It was Sadie Hawkins, so I asked this one.


feather / page france

you stood too close to the sunset
and it finally outgrew you
so now i paint you on my doorpost
like i knew you

i make all of the right noises
but my love they go right through you
i'm as heavy as a feather

...and we will rejoice


the alphabet of grace / frederick buechener

"Maybe the creature under the tree has just been told that if he wants to live, first he has to die, and his mouth is wrenched open with what may be either a roar of great laughter or a wail of despair. What it costs to be a man, he is told, is everything he's got. To be rich, he must be willing to spend himself down to the last nickel. To be happy, he must be willing to let his heart break. To be blessed, he must be willing to live like a damned fool--giving not getting, losing not winning, reaching out into the night for a hand that's not there, dancing a dance that clack-clack is the only music to. The creature under the trees laughs very much like hell or cries like a banshee because of course this is all precisely and definitively what he can neither do nor be. He is not a man; he is a walrus. He is not a hero; he is a pig. His legs are broken."


[raise high the roofbeams. the catcher's in the rye]

Okay, okay. Now, I don't want to pretend to know The Way of Things. Or to say that the hard gets easier, when it doesn't. Where are Rod Caufield, or Franny and Zooey Glass, when we need them? Salinger's agents of the unpretentious, calling out the phony to disown it.

On East Mountain today, we walked the road along which the Tea Fire (has it been over three months already?) swept. The cloud-strewn ocean and Santa Cruz islands, the very ones where once the dolphin-girl made her way, shone blue in the distance. Walking, Stacey turned toward me. It's too short, she says. Words falling out of the blueness. It, this, is too short.

And I, I who would even dare to turn away from the ocean, glittery and captivating as it is: I know what she means.


a little of what's been on my mind

(09 February 2009)

Remembering that streaming, dirty creek to ocean at filthy Sugar Beach, La playa pan de azucar, as I cross campus bridge over already slowing-to-a-trickle creek, the rushing, unstoppable water of the past days having reached the Pacific at the bottom of the hill.

I crossed that garbage-strewn creek near a group of loud and rowdy Ticos, beach campers who felt a little drunken, like everything else in that town. On the edge of madness, violence. A tourist, souvenir shop and cervecería wonderland, Pinocchio's Pleasure Island. I crossed near them cautiously, taking care on the steep sandy walls of the creek bank, picking my stepping stones with precision. (Who doesn't want to get wet at a beach? I'm telling you, not this creek. Not this playa). And there, nearby, all floppy and opulent, a colorless greyish white in the sand, lay a long dead snake. Pink and rubbery, maybe three, four feet long, twisted sickeningly. Now I'm not one to fear snakes, but seeing this bloated body made my stomach turn, limp like the penis of the man mauled by a grizzly in the photo I didn't mean to see.

I don't know why I'm writing this, really, except walking back from the library tonight, singing snatches of Radiohead softly, I noticed the water, the bridge, the quick and strong and finally fleeting rains. Only You can heal a barren land. Only turn toward us.


i just want you to know

that i do still write poems (oh, many), and i will start sharing them again (yes, soon).

and that the One is good, whose name is from ages past, and Love endures.

and, even in homework and overwhelming times like this,

we will make it.


Radiohead - House of Cards

and even six years after my younger self started to listen,
you are still so good.



there's a woman as old and bright as the stars
whose wild hair looks different every day
a woman whose bare arms and legs dance and lengthen, toeing a rhythm,
leading the rest of us to hear her beat and melody, to hear our song

this woman rose up out of rocky mountains
she came west and dressed us in joy
and a certain boy is not quite not over her
but this woman is wise and patient, brave and hopeful
she hears a voice saying
be still,
come near

and she knows this is a season of new songs

and if i know anything,
it's that her brightness only gets brighter


"And none shall be afraid"


We Cannot Turn Back

"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."


hello, 2009

Okay, I promise I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Many a private poem has been written over the past month.

Following finals, the first two weeks of the holiday were spent in Costa Rica with my family. Then it was home to Washington for a week--my town had 4 feet of snow! But now a new semester is starting, and, with it, a new year.

New classes:
New Religious Movements (but I am just auditing this one)
Modern & Contemporary Philosophy (Descarte to Postmodernism)
Imperialism & Independence (the 2nd British Empire, specifically)
International Law & Organizations (we will participate in the model UN in New York, representing Serbia)
Swimming (triathlons, anyone?)
Acting I (woot!)

So that is 17 units + 4 in auditing. And 3 shifts at work. Busy, but interesting. And it's even been in the 70s, which makes me feel terribly guilty, but is still so nice.


far away from the pura vida tropics
back in a pine-smelling village,
four feet of melting snow poured out by the god of the sky

and we are getting so old now, honey
in fact, it can be hard to write about, sometimes