Hearts & Bones

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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 eased into me like the 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.

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.

In between

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I sit here and wonder when to put the pot on for tea, or lemon water. I dress myself for any event the same, from the feet. From there, the illusion of my feeling inside of my bones. What colour is my marrow today?

Dark black pants that stretch and hold my legs taut. Leather worn boots and some soft thrifted sweater. The ever present scarf of earth toned grounding.  Underneath, I let my small breasts beat against my heart without the hold of a bra. They can be free, in their subtle secrecy.  

My sun feather strands wildly drift where they wish, most days here they are covered in a warm cap and kept simple in their thoughts.

My mind is like the milky white clouds above the mountains on the road to work.  Mayonnaise thoughts and vanilla inspiration. The electric tugs of shift are near. It is always just under the rug, or just around the chairs of the dining nook table. But then, I never move things as thoroughly as I should when I vacuum the floors.

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.

…to be continued…

On Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”

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the time spent writing vs daydreaming is profoundly alarming when gazed upon by a well-balanced citizen , actively participating in a work-life ratio equated to healthy

How much time do I spend researching historical photos of dead people or reading old love letters or treasure hunts?

I am struggling with the idea of  convection

the heat given off of the what I read

Stories I download through the busy days

The coffee shop hum

A vortex of inspiration within a vortex Guatemala pour-over

Unravel it all in the evening

bath bubbles

Unwinding in the winding Frenchie’s Field path

Equinox moon makes my heavy heart balloon

Composting the ideas

Where’s my pen?

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I’ve been told that I have an inability to handle reality at times.

That I am forever childlike.

The hardness in my heartbeats mount with horror films, high volumes, jealousy, pride,  and fear in this stark, real world.

We had a hard-water well when I was small

Hard decisions were made in front of my growing mind. Hard words and tough choices.

I remember the softness in my cat’s belly. The silky feel of my mothers arm. The gentle music of late-night adult parties that soothed me to sleep.

The hard shrill shrieks of frustrated family drives. The sirens and hard fears of my physical foundations.

The walls that surrounded me were always changing

The dark days fall through the gaps in my childhood reel,

Lighter, vignette memories distort truths, to where I’m left with fairies, dense green forests, sun -speckled afternoons on clovers in the midwest backyards of my youth.

Reading books in the solitude of my bedroom daydreams,

pillows propped my gangly shoulder blades, carefully sorted halloween candy on my lap.

mermaids and dolls in warm bath bubbles, fantasy worlds of beauty and rescue.

Let her be little.

 

 

 

 

For the grit of it.

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Shaking heartbeats vibrate my ribcage

the purple mountains, stoic and neutral, watch this mortal struggle

The cantaloupe alpenglow settles the magic hour debate

30 feet above me, He hangs casually in his harness, smiling down

“Come bring me that pail of water”, he urges my insides to smile

Keep climbing

keep grunting

The hell with my ego

I’m starving, and this humble pie satiates my deep- belly pride

Why do I do this? I hate this.

Did I yell that through the canyon?

Briefly I pan out of my body

The soundtrack to my jagged upward haul is laced with expletives from

some deep, guttural wolf inside of my throat.

This moment.

How it squeezes my toes.

How my head space breathes bigger to make room for mind maneuvers

How my hair catches in this belay device

A sharp knife cuts me free

Adrenaline fuels this rappel

Crack a celebratory beer on the dusty ground. My chalky fingernails barely grip the tab.

The cold rush of bubbles remind me that this is being present.

I watched in the truck side mirror on the drive home

my bruised and battered hands surf the night thermals

living on the razors edge.

That was fun, he says. Wanna do it again tomorrow?