Monday, December 21, 2009

mole baby

how frustrating I must be. I must have always been. such high expectations. so uncompromising. I never seem to see people the way they want to be seen.

I feel sorry for my parents. they didn't ask for this. blind baby. this mole baby, digging relentlessly.

people are often soft where they should be hard and hard where they should be soft. I just want to be like the cookies we baked today. it's what I've always wanted.

shortbread and molasses. three batches, one after the other. I watched my mother roll dough in the palm of her hand. the years, all the history held in

didn't matter. they came out fine. better than fine. you could say they were just right. and everyone enjoyed them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

the truth

the girl in that room never stopped undressing

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

venice 3

If I could be half as brave as I was as a child,
that would be really something.

men are dogs

People are boring.
Men especially. 
You think you can 
Make me happy? 
Go ahead. 
Grow a tail and 
Wag it for me.
And don't worry,
I'm used to picking 
Up your shit.
You think I'm angry?
Fine then, go lie in it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


My little pelican friend had trouble steadying himself in the wind. His left foot kept slipping until he finally had enough and leapt off. It was gorgeous. His wingspan was larger than I imagined it would be. He flew in a circle around the pier and came to perch on the rail opposite me - only to be greeted by an even larger group of cell phone photographers. Oh, well.

not everything is willful

I can see into my bathroom. My contact case and solution are where I left them. My toothpaste and toothbrush too. I forgot to turn the light off. From here my bathroom looks friendly. It looks as loyal as a golden retriever. Today I'm thankful for these. I'm relieved.


If I hadn't seen it my self I wouldn't believe it. And if I tried to tell you my words would be lost. They would be empty. They might not even sound. A silent film. As bad as charades. Or my best impression of a mime. The one where he's trapped in a box and can't get out.

There are no shortcuts here. And it's an uphill climb. But maybe the distance is made bearable if you're holding the hand of someone you love. Everyone else just wonders what the fuck is a mountain or are smart enough to have gone around it in the first place.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

coffee house musings

A man standing in line across from me has a leaf stuck to his butt. Should I tell him? Hell no. Cause then he'll think I was LOOKING.

And would someone please explain to me why coffee house proprietors are so head-over-heels in love with huge abstract paintings of faceless, nude females of mangled proportions? I think they're hideous.

I was in Equator Books today. I have a growing affection for one of their employees - he might actually be the owner, I don't know. Flannel-clad and unapologetically surly he paced the floor, smoked and paced some more. My belief is that this individual's pet peeve is people sitting around writing in the cafe section of his bookstore (which I was attempting, of course). How could they introduce/advertise awesome coffee and cafe-style seating and not expect people to want to come in and work. I also fail to understand why someone who supposedly loves books would have such tangible disdain for writers. I wasn't comfortable staying long lest his policing gaze fix upon me. It was like that eye in Lord of the Rings. I actually caved and bought a book as if to say, "look asshole not all writers sit around, taking up space, without buying anything." I'm sure that showed him.

Friday, December 4, 2009



A woman sits at a wobbly table in an urban cafe. The top of it is covered with post cards from foreign countries. She's waiting for someone. A man on a bicycle rides past wearing a woman's straw hat. It has a large plastic daisy on it which makes her think of Sundays in East Atlanta; black ladies climbing out of shiny Cadillacs on their way to church, everything matching - purple with purple, pink with pink, heels, belts, purses.

She is joined by a quiet companion. Will he remark on his bloody mary, her mimosa? Keys are exchanged. The scene ends simply. Everything left unsaid passes between them in silence, spilling out from their eyes. No one notices. A man at the table beside theirs continues to work on his crossword. Sips his coffee. It's only a moment. She pays the bill, gets up and walks out. There is no bell on the door to mark her exit.


Years earlier the same woman, a girl then with shorter hair, undresses hesitantly in an all-but-bare room. There's a mattress on the floor and a man on it in fetal position, wailing. She doesn't know why. Somewhere in her child-head she imagines her sacrifice can relieve his pain. She exists in a world of raw potential - vague notions and possibilities, magic and love. She still believes she can change things; she just doesn't know how.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

from the North country

My husband's birthday is tomorrow.
I had a husband. He used to sing to me. I don't understand time. I don't understand time or love. But tomorrow I hope the sun shines in Atlanta or wherever he may be.

Monday, November 30, 2009

the sun

is coming up
washed in
blue in

could have
in their beds
this much

Saturday, November 28, 2009

be a man

Instead of being a woman men want, I'm going to be the man I want.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


my life should be lived. as though it were a meal prepared for those I hold dearest. and so it is. only right that I keep laboring in this hot kitchen. but no bitterness. not for you, darling. for you I offer only sweetness. and salty love. the salt of love. love without weakness.

(for P.S.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

There is no such thing as equal or fair.

This is something children learn early, painfully, only to forget as adults.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

it may be too early for a diagnosis doctor,
but it seems as though her heart has stopped beating.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


my hands are two lovers. my hands are two strangers.

my right wants freedom while the left is busy fastening a chain to my ankle.

(it was gold and caught the light. my left couldn't resist, despite my right.)


I'm settling into some remote place - a place of safety where I'm slightly turned off, where I can react to my self more than others.

There is a distance now. I didn't put it there, but am guilty of having noticed. And now that I know I can't pretend otherwise.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

I am tired of living a half-life, afraid. This requires immediate,
drastic action and a little hope.

I've also noticed recently that, regardless of how I envy them,
people who have a lot of friends are often more lonely than I.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

prayer 2

I'm going to count to ten.

When I get to ten I'll be strong,

the Strongest.











Sunday, November 8, 2009

children 3

Like Isabel you want
Cake. Baby, you want
Another milk shake.

What will I say when
I hear you ask me softly
From the back seat if

We can take a break?
"I told you I'd give you
A stomach ache."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

pound cake

If I still had a heart, this could easily be lumped into the category of "bad idea" but I don't, so what difference does it make?

Friday, November 6, 2009

with return

Blue skies from Los Angeles to Seattle with return. Stepping into my apartment (it was still there) for the first time since the course I was struck at how luxurious it seemed. I thought I was living quite modestly. I  still have more than I need.

As of today I even have heat. I turned it on only to be greeted by a cloud of smoke - the burning of at least a year's worth of dust. I was, of course, already in the shower when this happened, smoke alarm and all. Curses. I am now at the considerably less warm Cow's End for coffee and clean(er) air.

Though my apartment remains intact everything has changed. I'm resisting the urge to revert to the same habits which made it the place it was before. I have a choice now I didn't when I left to try something different. I'd like to take advantage of that. Today I decide what form these efforts will take.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

I leave for Seattle today. I'm not sure how I feel about seeing the Space Needle again or Pike Place. Standing under the sign at Starbucks without you there to take my picture.

And I can't help but suspect I'll return only to find my home in ashes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Treasure Hunting


Every summer my sister and I rode in the back seat of an old yellow Ford with no air-conditioning and vinyl seats our legs would stick to. Our parents couldn't pass an antique shop without stopping. This was my initiation to treasure hunting. We'd walk up and down rows of clothes, stalls full of tattered books and every kind of nick-knack looking for that one "great catch". Once I found in the corner of an antique mall in Tifton, Georgia (known to be the Reading Capital of the World) a great piece of Van Briggle; the turquoise mug I now drink my morning coffee from. Sometimes it's the small wins that keep us coming back.


There's a great love buried in all of us. I've denied it's voice for so long it takes real effort to hear it now: a window slides open in an apartment on the west side. Across the street the whistle of a kettle. Two doors down, a sneeze. Most of our lives go unheard, unseen. Each morning I wade through these. Like a stroll down the aisles of some dusty roadside flea market. I search for your voice through the din. The same which coaxes flowers open at dawn. And in some mysterious corner of my cluttered being was once a small win.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sasha reminded me of this. And it is beautiful.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

work, frustration, joy and sometimes solace


Wrap you in Matthew's rose-gold light
my arms just for a night.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Habit is what keeps
us stubbornly knocking on
doors which are open.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Panning for gold I
wait for someone to bring me
more than just their dirt.

Friday, September 25, 2009


my father is a tall drink of water. he can two-step. he and my grandfather are the earth in me. solid. sturdy. elemental. moving in ellipses around a single axis. things grow and we're not afraid. of the dirt. our hands. or sweat. we work. we eat bread. we bake. we wake in time for the dawn. sit cross-legged on the lawn as seasons pass through us. are aware of our dependence on the sun. my dad. can tell you the story written on the underbelly of every rock. and name all trees.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


my mother has black eyes and olive skin. born in Vienna to William and Beatrice. who were in love. she is the fire and weather in me, but mostly the fire. eye of the tiger. we hunt and laugh. as witches and sirens do. tickle and tease we swoon. over faery tales. whose meaning we pick over. like hungry birds. mask our loneliness with words thin as smoke. we delight in those that can tame us and those who get burnt alike. we secretly want both.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I am happy to report ...

... that I'm happy. But don't tell anyone. It's a secret.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

children 2

tonight I'm going to write about letting go. then I'm going to do it. not forcefully, like something being torn or wretched away. but gently, tenderly. the thing I'm letting go of will not even notice it's new freedom. the way a child's hand slips from yours as they run to some new toy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ugly little things

I cried tonight after you left. At some point I must have decided there would be no more tears - that I have cried enough. Some cold, calculating part of me added them up and decided any more would appear too self-indulgent. So I cut my self off the way a bartender would. A person can get drunk on tears. They're addictive in large doses. But they are also healing and denying my self them, as I have other things recently, isn't healthy. I'm still punishing my self for being unlovable. We do that, you know. Lives are wasted on such self-flagellation. Not good enough. Not worthy. Or bad. These are addictive in large doses. As is denial. The gut-reaction is always to suppress. I've been jealous and sad - emotions which are, to me, unacceptable. They make me feel small and insubstantial. They make me feel so little. It's uncomfortable. It's hard not to turn away from my self in these moments. To give it the cold shoulder. To snub. But it's how we deal with pain, crisis and hardship that's really the test isn't it? When things are going great it's easy to open, to be welcoming to ourselves and others. When there's a surplus in our lives how hard is it to give? It's not. I've been sad before and saw how people treated it as infectious. They'd keep their distance from me as though it were viral. I always thought they were missing the easiest of opportunities for kindness. I realize now how I've been doing the same. I've been treating my own sadness and jealousy as diseases. They're not. They're more like a scab (irritating and itchy) that you just shouldn't pick off. Ugly little things yes, but part of the process.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

'I love you', said the man.
'Strange that I feel none the better for it', said the woman.

A.R. Orage, On Love

Monday, September 14, 2009

Drunks on the peninsula

All think that they're the Mayor.
Baja, Cabo Cantina, The Whaler,
Hinano, Mercedes, The Terrace -
What a menace. Be thankful if
You're not one of them;
These guys are a dime a dozen.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

two not one

I overheard a barista at Starbucks yesterday. She said it hurt being broken up with, but that she was okay because it hadn't been "real" anyway. Whatever it was, it wasn't real. I don't know. It seems to me that most romantic relationships in general take on a quality of the unreal. They employ fantasy and imagination. They thrive on ideas like the past and the future. They exploit the emotions. Sometimes they're even validated by a certain chemical attraction - if you're lucky. Our individual experiences of the same event can vary so greatly it's questionable whether two individuals are in the same relationship at all. I've experienced this. And jumping from one to another is merely swapping one unreality for a different, momentarily more tantalizing one.

So where does the truth lie? Somewhere between these two perspectives or completely outside of it? And can two people ever live together so harmoniously and in the moment that their experiences coincide? Does it even matter? Does the animal part of me, driven by its own machinery, give a fig? Two are not one. It's much easier for me to grasp some notion of harmony and oneness on a macro level. Here in the dirt, the water and salt of the body, or two bodies, I find it almost impossible to imagine.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Can you lose your virginity twice?

The obvious answer is no. Another answer (as I may or may not have understood it) might be that certain folks have acquired the ability to experience things which are novel as novel - every moment being different from every other. Perhaps for these few there is no such thing as a repeat performance. Every time is their first.

My question now is this: could a person experience something as new not out of some achievement of willful presence and remembrance of self, but because they have forgotten themselves so fully that their repeat performance is experienced as a first? And how to tell the difference?

I'm plagued with a sense of my own inability to decipher whether or not I am improving or simply cycling through the latter of these two scenarios over and over again. And I feel strongly that if I don't work my ass off this will be the only story I ever have to tell. Not the story of my life, but the one of my slow death.

I must remember to remember.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

twice I've woken

in bed
from earthquakes
only to realize
it was
my own body

a day in the life

Today I did my sitting, practiced guitar and Chi Kung, worked, updated my website, struggled with my blinds, framed and hung several prints and a few of Paul's drawings. Dave from New Zealand (with the red Moto Guzzi) helped me with my TV and took me out for a bite. I went home, showered and walked out to the pier. A clear night in Venice. The stars are out and the sky is dotted with airplanes on their way to and from LAX.

I like being alone and resist the urge (which I believe is mostly social) to feel as though I'm missing out on something by enjoying my own company instead of someone else's. If it is our desires which veil the truth from us, I'm tired of being shrouded in lust and longing. Tonight I wore a dress in which I can feel everything. There was a breeze off the ocean. It touched me gently. Discipline and curiosity may not be able to do this, but I plan to fill the man-gap with these anyway.

On my way home I was forced to choose between the lesser of two evils: walking down the dark alleyway I live on and where a bum and his shopping-cart full of belongings has taken up residence or take Catamaran and go in the back way. For those of you who don't know I recently vacated a life (and love) on that street. Walking it makes me feel awkward and ghost-like, tonight especially in my white dress.

I shunned the bum, deciding at the same time I need not be ashamed of my incredible ability to move on.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

somebody else's trash

I smoked a cigarette by the water today and thought about what I wrote last night. Everybody comes here to visit the beach. They get oiled up, fight over off-street parking and leave trash everywhere. There are lots of little crabs on the bottom of the canal. Our filthy canal. Should I add my cigarette butt to it? These little niceties are a drop in the bucket. 

If you don't give a shit about your self, why should I? Every decision carries an exact weight and has a quality which acts on the soul either to tear it apart or build it slowly. This I know for sure. Me? I threw mine away. You can do whatever you want with yours. 

Saturday, August 15, 2009

In the past three months I've attended two Guitar Craft courses. One in Seattle the other in Barcelona. There seem to be more opportunities for silence on courses (remember I've only been to two) than off. It arrives and takes hold of the room. Stops my tongue wagging. Reminds me to listen. That I can listen. Even in a room erupting with sound.

I fell into the role of silence nazi with relative ease. During one of the solo performances (given by Patrick) a rude individual at the far end of the table had the audacity to pour themselves a glass of water in the middle of his piece. It was highly audible. Downright loud. I leaned in to see who this person was but stopped short. The performance ended. Conversation ensued. I heard a voice across the room and realized. The person I had been judging was a guest on the course. But not just any guest, a child. Greg had brought his two lovely children to visit. I was ashamed, deeply.

It was hard then not to ask the question. What would happen if we treated each other with the same patience and tenderness we treat children?

It's all too easy to forget this question or to formulate an answer to it that suits our laziness and fear more than our sense of humanity and compassion. I nannied today and witnessed, with complete, unadulterated acceptance and love, a child being themselves. On my way home I thought about how very lucky I am for this experience and was forced to ask my self yet another question. Have I ever loved and accepted, fully, another person without judgment, without expectation, without exception. I've taken stock of all those I hold closest to me and don't think so. No. This is partly because I, along with most children, have been hurt by adults my whole life. But this is not the point.

The point is that I am very, very sorry. I am ashamed to my core. And I'm going to work on that.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

venice 2

It will never again be safe for you to leave the house. You might see me. (I am everywhere.) And if you did, your face would melt off. Or you would turn to stone. Or perhaps you are already stone.

I'm watching a man pick through the feathers of a blue Macaw - who may or may not be watching me back with his black eye. He edges onto the man's shoulder as a big dog nears. The dog (a Great Dane?) still has its balls. The Macaw's name is Rocky. Rocky's owner enjoys, as I do, the reactions of passerby's. I like seeing children reach out to touch the giant bird. They're so brave. He likes pretty women. Rocky is 21. Rocky may bury his owner. Macaws have a rather long life-expectancy. This one will live forever. Like Bunnicula. Or he'll die only to rise up again like a Phoenix. Like my heart in a blaze of fire and fury. You should be there the moment it happens. The fireworks. The color. Everything awash with love. It will be beautiful. When I'm ready and not until then.

Until then I amuse myself with other people's stories and try to fulfill my obligations honorably. I look down on a small patch of sidewalk from a table in a dirty cafe on Washington and pretend I don't see you there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

the tear

can happen fast. it can happen gradually. it can crack open like a fissure in the earth or be divided over time in layers. it can be like paper. or skin. it can hurt. the tear is sometimes invisible. something may look whole when in fact it is not. this is most people.

invisibility is something I've wished for lately. all the aching parts of me are so obvious. at the market or on the street it's easy. you avoid eye contact, keep to your self and fade into the background. this is impossible with family. with family, as on a goddamn packed flight to Los Angeles, you're bumped into constantly. you're seen. it's unavoidable.

my recent trip to new york completely unseated me. like being knocked off a horse and dragged several yards before losing consciousness. it was my cousin's wedding. it was a beautiful event I had trouble enjoying. the upside of all this business is that I know I'm still alive. I've experienced just about every variation of tearfulness known to me.

for instance

some tears sound like small animals. some hiccup like tired children. some wail. some possess the entire body. turn it inside out. squeeze air from the lungs until there's none left. some hide in the clenched jaw. in the stomach. some moan and rock like a seasick sailor. are captured by the eyelids. soaked like sponges around each crease smoothing them out. the slow but steady trickle. guilty tears. angry tears. tears which break us in half and prevent us from walking or standing up straight. grab hold of the shoulders and shake us violently. pass unseen from eyes to hands. whose marks remain as splashes on paper, spots of snot and blots of wetness on t-shirts or mascara stains on pillowcases. we wear them. we wash and try to iron them out. our faces.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I left yoga today feeling emotionally unsettled. During my practice I realized I wasn't completely there. Not necessarily because my attention had wandered, but because I was insecure. I had a very similar experience during Kung Fu not long ago, but had the added disadvantage of being distracted by a remote but powerful memory. In any case, I circumvented personal interaction with my teacher and headed for the door, for the safety of anonymity. Which, of course, led me to the local Starbucks where I purchased my comfort beverage of choice and a banana. I went outside to find a seat and was greeted warmly by an elderly gentleman who was sitting alone. I selected a seat at the table closest to his without hesitation.

It wasn't long before I realized this sweet little old man was thumbing through the pages of a XXX-rated sex magazine. This effected me in a way I couldn't have anticipated. Whatever response this man hoped to elicit I wasn't sure, but I did know one thing; he wasn't going to hurt me. This was inexplicably comforting. Whatever he held in his mind didn't matter. It had nothing to do with me and couldn't hurt me in any way. He was so obviously past the age of being capable of sexual violence, perhaps even sexual function.

I didn't leave for a while. Walking away I felt quieted and had the sense that this man represented something to me - perhaps my own unbalanced desires (sex being such an easy one for people to distort). Perhaps one day mine will wither and age. If I stop nurturing them they lose their power. Perhaps one day they will be as scary to me as this old man and his pictures, instead of the monsters they are now.

Friday, June 12, 2009

animal sleep

shy and resistant he places his 
head in my hand for a scratch.
having woken from animal sleep.
my basic weakness is this: your
hand any hand reaching I need to be
touched and to touch everything
with love. with curiosity. my 
need to know scratched tenderly.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Today I saw your faces everywhere I looked.
Tomorrow I will only ache to see them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

venice 1

I saw a homeless man a few nights ago
palms upturned, arms outstretched under a beam
of fluorescent light behind a convenient store in Venice.
He spoke softly to himself as we drove by.

It was the light of God, of knowledge,
and he was Jesus, Muhammad or Moses.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

prayer 1

there are too many clocks in this house to be counted
each set to flow into every other. each moment pulling toward the next
like the sound of soup brought in through the front teeth
sitting alone perhaps in an italian restaurant

clocks, hands, teeth, checkered table cloths and
bread rolls, the moment I slipped out of the bath. all these converge.
our soup of membranes and casual conversation. our fucking
our loving. everything we make together holy


the sea laps             its foam bath           back to itself
a dream reversed                    receding a great splash 
a room filled then emptied

you were behind the wheel         of a whale blowhole 
swallowed                   mouth full of krill I swam       I 
dusted the sand from my feet       and got back in my 
car        I        tore out                                   myovaries


The electrical wires in this city crackle. The way a microphone might or speakers in a car which are blown out. I haven’t been here so long yet that I don’t pause to look up. I wait for them to fall on my head. Like twigs I expect them to snap. I’ve already been brought to trial. I sent a head-shot and a photo in my bathing suit ahead of me. It was enough. 

Everyone wants to know how I am. Only I can see the lines in my knuckles. Like dried earth. Andy Goldsworthy's garden of red leaves slide down my legs a cunt of thorns.

All girls draw their bodies as trees. And get tattoos of roses. There’s a birdhouse in the back yard I left unfilled. There is nothing here to eat.

children 1

if I give them what they want, they promise to forgive me. that's how much I mean to them. paper boats floating. then tipped over. each with its own little captain. and if I cry it makes them feel better. it makes their hope more buoyant. softens the blow. I resist placing my happiness in the hands of others. this makes me "selfish." my boat is supposed to be surrendered completely. without them even asking.