on time

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I wonder sometimes about the type of person I would have been if i had stayed in that expensive school in Minneapolis all those years ago. If I had paid back all the debts I owed.

If I had never made rash decisions and packed up countless times. If I had stayed, somewhere. In any of those ‘wheres.

Before the geographic differences and subtle layers of time and events covered the days and set the bridges on fire.

I have always been afraid of moving backward and my biggest fear is that there will be a reckoning for this someday

I crawl forward only to meet myself in a new closet

in a new place the mirror always reflects the same perspective

Where can one go to understand the choices made years ago, and is there a goodness in knowing that you might have done it all the same?

on being

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If I could be true

If I could be the bluest blue and still be the truest true

I could live in the middle somewhere

where sea water hazes with horizon line

there is where I could be

I could sleep on hot desert sandstone

Could melt with the silver wax of sage brush

and tickle my insides with tough cactus

Could twirl inside of the tumbleweeds

rolling across highways of memories

To where the greens and the blues become Earthen hues

the truest of true

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I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.

so why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.

Mary Oliver

I worry that I do not know what my dreams are, or that my dreams are too ambiguous to ever form fruit.

There is much to do, I keep telling myself. I hear it from far off and I see it in the faces of the new moon. I can feel the strange sense of restlessness that seems to steam out from whatever drawer I keep placing it. It creaks like the adolescent fillings in my teeth and beg to be tended to just the same.

I drink hot coffee. I butter toast and heat up tomato soup and try to quell the anxious twitch under my eyelids. I read pages from books that gather in piles on the kitchen nook, in my bags, and on the nightstand, next to his salt lamp and my eucalyptus stems. It’s enough to be this. To be surrounded by items collected and gifted in love. To see and touch each memory. Each dream. To be reminded. To live with reverence. The word itself is a silent verb.

“My heart hurts and my shoe is untied”

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Everything in excess.

Filling up shelves and floor corners with books and prints

Thrift-store sweaters. Scarfs. Hats. Tiny white summer shirts.

Cataloguing words in my heart space. Using them to reveal forgotten truths.

Conversations that unwind and spiral into turning inside out on vulnerable display

Babies. Babies.

Dogs smiles. Hungry kitten howls.

Half-drunk coffees.

Wine.

Old Fashions and extra Luxardo cherries.

Baths. Sometimes for the thrill of full body warmth, and the self-aware privilege and deep gratitude for clean steam.

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“But, it took a certain kind of trust in myself to seek them out and follow them home. I suppose what I am telling you is that the vein of strangeness running through you might very well be the best thing about your writing. You just have to make peace with it and listen carefully to what it has to say.” -Erin Rose

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way a place can be worn. The way a person can remember the asphalt union of a childhood street and a bike. The way an old dive bar in Minneapolis smells like first taste of freedom. The adolescent cigarettes, the cheap beers and Nag champa filled apartments. The way New York City summer heat can jolt a mind out of, or into existential crisis. A geographic layer can speak about what we are made of, where we are going, and who we will be.

The layers of places attach to the bones. I wonder if everyone feels this way about their senses. I wonder about all of the unspoken nostalgia.

I wore Oregon like a pair of jeans that I finally chose myself. Anonymous, rugged, beautiful, and raw.

I wore Colorado with the giddy coolness, slight discomfort and excited unease of never quite being mine, but always serving it’s rocky mountain beauty and purpose of being real.

I wore California coastlines like tight black leather. Appealing, balmy, impractical, alive, and recklessly wild.

Texas happened without proper planning and only slight physical adjustment. Suddenly, I was swept away in the Yoo-Hoo colored-gulf coast waters. Texas eased onto me like that close humidity drips down a silk blouse. It welcomed my humble mosaic of midwest and uprooted limbs with the ease of singing with the jukebox after mezcal shots. The slow, warm nights and slow moving food hugged me when I needed them, and inspired the dirt to stay on my new long fingernails once again.

Today. This high southwest desert feels as if it has been waiting. Waiting for it’s chapter. For this new and ancient layer. As if the graceful solid rock of this land seeps into the people, the way the sage and chamisa palette seeps into the patience of things, and of knowing times yet to come.

Here in New Mexico. Hearts and bones,

wide open.

on frequencies

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 ” I had a daughter but I gave her away”

We walk comfortably down the dusty halls of the visual arts wing, headed to ceramics.

Her white , heavily whiskered mouth and sagging chin unapologetically both exist and repeat the words.

’52 years ago. I was trying to be straight. He was a native’. 

Our stride is paced to match, acquaintances through weeks of wheel- throwing and conversation, though the topics have been in the solid foundation of clay-based type until now. I turn my calm face toward her, both letting the words flow through my ears and inviting her to take up the space at once. Seeing her grey eyes behind thick, outdated, now hip once more bi-focal clear-framed lenses.

The disposition of a woman who has lived 76 years inside of this ever-changing, speeding-toward geriatric human form. I see the prejudice she has built a thick skin against. I see it in her proud chest, in her unabashed gait, and in the way she speaks with the disarming yet peaceful way of nothing left to lose.

“I understand,” I chime in . Not really, do I? I stay in it. 

The radio signals emit frequencies whether we listen or not. The fine tuning of our intake can have the effect of filtering out much more than we intend

I’m chewing through an idea about limits. The limits inside of the ego can be so comfortable that one may not know they are inside of a room at all. I suppose a parcel to take from this is to remain clear eyed and soak up this world like it’s giving the last drops of olive oil on a fresh piece of good bread. Create the space for channels and they might flood in like a motherfucker. It’s  a pretty beautiful place out here.

On new books

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It is strange the way the right words come when they are needed. They heed the call from some far off shore and fly over blue waves and thermals  and other’s prayers to my window, into my ears. They blow in with the new November wind and linger in the folds of the new duvet cover as I listen.

The fabric feels the same but is dark blue now. The walls are adobe cream and there are always new ways to organize old boxes and art and cairns. The air smells fresh and cold and crisp.

I rearrange the books on the shelves after I finish the new ones. It is like adding a layer of greens to the composter outside. I remind myself to remember turn it three times.

I remind myself to stretch. I also remind myself that reminders are new to me.

on memories

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His milky blue eyes rimmed with the gaily sheen of Ketel One cocktails each night at the regularly scheduled hour.

“One-two-three-four-five…what comes after five?…Cocktails” He’d say with an Irish grin.

Some nights she awoke to see her father dancing on the ten-dollar garage sale -cherry wood coffee table in his weathered beach shack

He would put one of the mix CDs that she’d make them each summer. Pumping his arms in the air the way that men who came of age in the 70’s and 80’s tend to do, he’d sing,

“This is your song, kid. Love you” He’d point and wink in his east coast way.

One birthday there sat a gigantic carrot cake covered in white cream frosting. They all laughed around the table, each holding a silver fork. No plates, just took turns digging utensils into the gluttonous centerpiece while giggling.

The edges between Parent and Child blurred every June for her, much like the subtle but definitive way her tan-lines would fade every September.

One July fourth ,during a classic New England hurricane, her father’s twinkling eyes caught hers from across the buzzing crowd that had moved indoors to dry safety.

“Let’s go swimmin’, kid”.

They body surfed the moody blue waves until dusk, racing across the seaweed and driftwood debris-strewn sand to the safety of the porch. Soaking wet, shivering , laughing, she bit into a cold hamburger that had been saved from the party platter spread and heaped a spoonful of her auntie Nor’s potato salad onto a paper plate.

The familiar shouts and laughs of the neighborhood were as familiar and comforting as the hot shower and simple Dove bar soap that ended each summer day of her childhood.