On Orbits

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If someone were to ask of

The return from Saturn

What would I say?

I would tell of driving through the vein of the continental divide

Every book 

Every dress I possessed

inside backpacks and plastic totes

And Paul Simon singing of a land where we never fall from grace

And the crack of my heart breaking

Is loud enough to shock my lungs

 and heavy enough to steer the white Subaru to the reservoir pull out 

To stare into the blue waters

Collecting cold courage 

To move on

I would tell of the weeks of dirt and questions 

Days in the screaming silence of Joshua tree

And how my bald tires and 

waning bank accounts

Pushed my frenzied mind to rash decisions of never returning to anywhere

And how my heart whispered ‘hold on-decompress in a safer place’-

And my fear and ego flung forward 

Further west

Into a glittering sea

Norma

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We were standing near the plaza at dusk , sipping the warm night air in drunken slurps and sighing giggles

Talking spirals, languid and bold convictions, volleying small statements and large ideas

I saw her behind this happy haze, my eyes scanning the forms that moved in and out of shops

Navigating sidewalks two hundred-years old in freshly purchased high desert souvenirs

Tourists of large proportions, gazes fixed toward the next margarita bar

She was leaning heavily over a muted grey walker, shuffling achingly slow from curb to street, a small mist between the crowds, clutching a brown restaurant bag of dinner leftovers, and in the other firm grip, and tote full of unknown human belongings

Her shawl was familiar of most aging woman here; brightly colored and contrasting patterns of her long flowing skirt.

She seemed out of rhythm with her surroundings, or quite possibly from another time, another sunset long ago, on that same street

Before I could understand the quiet synapses, I was getting up and then crossing the street and introducing myself and offering to carry her bags

Without pause for posterity or ego, she gladly handed them and our steps fell into sync, on the way to her parked car blocks away

She had just finished a round of aggressive chemo after a hysterectomy had not rid her body of the cell mutations

She was to decide if she would undergo another round, due to begin next Friday

It made her weak, she frustratingly explained, sick and unable to see the plays and art shows she liked. Besides, she cheerfully added, there was going to be a new exciting show at the Lensic that following Sunday, and would we like to go?

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There is a recurring idea of boundaries within and without me these weeks

Of knowing that saying yes and no will somehow have a heavier impact on the tomorrows than it had ever before

I listen to music notes and I write notes to no one

I pour coffees and smile beneath the strands of hair over my face

It is always okay, I am discovering boldly and late, to not smile back

It is okay to not always be okay

I write sentences then erase them and try again to explain myself

I feel that my passions are enveloping into pressure than purpose and it sits heavy on my frame in a way that frail ankle bones are not easy to perch upon

I am learning more about myself and understanding that I bloomed late in this world

It is spring here, and yesterday the rains fell and froze over the tiny beet sprouts in the backyard

and all I can feel is the dull hum of a quiet panic of never being in the right time of the seasons of my life

On Rooney and Didion

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“You live through certain things before you understand them. You can’t always take the analytical position.” 

-Sally Rooney, Conversations with Friends

There has been a pressure to accomplish and create a wealth in myself lately. I am certain that my old ways of thinking are not comfortable with this. I am also certain that it is time to develop new patterns of doing. Of being. I have grown into myself with a fear of monetary value. Placing judgment came easier. I am slowly learning, or rather, unlearning, the notion that having a livable income means compromise.

I am sitting in our garden, a raised bed of raised hope, tiny green sprouts with the promised wink of beets, a row of carrot tuft, spinach leaves and so on. My legs rest on the pine edge, while my postured position sits on our chopping block stump. The sun is already heating up this high desert earth, and I welcome it with greedy slurps of bare skin. Ryker lazily sniffs the air from his nest of mulch a few feet away. E types inside, emails of updates, inquiries and deadlines. I close my eyes and silently send him this heat, this moment of realized calm.

I wonder what the purpose is. Why do I hungrily devour cold essays, Paris review and Vanity fair biographies on Joan Didion, Eve Babitz, Hunter S. Thomson?

I think that what I admire and arduously envy in youth is the idea that one can change convictions and still be seen as whole. The unseen and unlearned has time. A consecration of beliefs and molds will not set, for seemingly ever.

I believe this is what I fear in age

that by writing out my thoughts they hold some inane power and also purpose over my steady life.

The days will have added to a completion.

An idea that has stood the harsh winds of actions and progress, of stages and sins, of chance and choice.

On becoming

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We have to learn how to live in this

How to reckon with the heaviness

How to learn to breathe underwater

on the wet lung days

How to sit with unease

and rest there

We have to water our own plants and walk the dog around the block

No one is going to do this for us

I am slowly learning that forgiveness and apathy are very different creatures

and to allow them in the same room provides no movement

I am remembering

that still waters are not clean to drink from

and neither is a still life

Learning many things that I’m told I have known before

How many lives and how may re-births?

“Let’s unpack that” , he says

But I remember that I have always pulled at clothing slowly from an open suitcase, long after arrival

No person can provide the push for another

I sit outside and and meditate upon the spotty sunlight

the goosebumps on my leg and

Andrew Bird’s violin makes the trees dance

maybe is does not matter if wind or bow moves them

and all I can know if that this is all the heaviness needed to question

and the beauty in understanding that we understand nothing

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.