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 KierkegÄrd 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.