Saturday, December 28, 2013

Change is coming.

Sometimes you can feel your center of gravity begin to shift before anything has really happened - the future reaching into the present, pulling you forward. My tiny boat has begun to rock. It's strange how prepared I feel coming out of AT training and yet I find I am still scared. Will I be strong enough to face the days ahead? Will I find any help? Can I do any better than I've done?

And the small community of friends and teachers I've had over these last three years has already begun transitioning from the old to the new. These relationships will never be the same. I find this reality difficult to face without some measure of sadness and feeling of loss. I do, however, recognize how necessary all the steps to get to this point have been and am trying not to get too sentimental about the next one, wherever it takes me. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

out of darkness

The most honest moments of my life have been in longing. Not for your arms or your comfort, which are great, but for death. My journals are full of it. My heart is full of it. Too much to ever forget. How can I tell you this, lover? Without being misunderstood? That life without death is empty.

The summer I went from church to church like a beggar and none would admit me. Even the last (whose doors I thought would open) left me stranded outside the sanctuary. But I stayed. I knelt. And through a crack in the door I felt the slow leak of heavenly air-conditioning on my face and caught how the mingled scent of wooden pews and Frankincense filled the place. How can I tell you this? That I was born impoverished? That I was born from horrifically glorious moments of utter certainty that nothing I can do is right. That I was born as light is born - out of the darkness of night.

where the action is

It's raining in Santa Monica. Were I in Atlanta I would call this a drizzle but here anything that's wet and falls from the sky qualifies as rain. It makes for an interesting mix of odors - of asphalt and atmosphere, potted lavender in one doorway, a homeless person sleeping in the next.

I'm not complaining, but too much sunshine lends an invisibility to things after a while. Weather changes can inspire us to look at the same things differently, or look somewhere else entirely. Driven indoors I remember that, while California is endowed with great weather and an abundance of natural beauty, not everything worthwhile happens outside. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Viewing

his nose hadn’t been that big.
his face had been round,
not sallow and oval.
his hands alone were
recognizable; their rough
strength knew the way
of the soil and also
the Gardener’s secret:
casement broken,
the seed is the sapling is
the tree is the blossom is
the apple is a glass of
spiced cider or Nana’s
last jar of preserves.
of these nothing is lost
but it’s not understood.
we step forward unsure,
are unconvinced
by the makeup.
of the two, death
is the greater deceit.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

departures and arrivals

Why do I keep ending up where I am not? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

the spins

This morning, even after a long, deep sleep I find I awake still trapped in circular thinking. Taking a closer look I find this process is one that's purpose is twofold: 1. to decide how I should act according to what others might need or want from me, 2. to decide how I should feel about it. This is a land of hypotheticals and imagination, of clumsy paper-mache replicas and connect-the-dot drawings. There is a feeling which is tangible when you've hit upon something real. Something recognized by the body - maybe in the chest or solar plexus. None of these half-asleep, half-awake musings have that quality. The real question begins to emerge. Why this need to problem-solve? Especially when people aren't equations and no matter how much circumstantial evidence I put in, the answers I get out are largely based on my own past, disconnected from the present, dead. Just as dead is my attachment to outcomes outside of the moment. I want x to happen and y not to. How can I engineer this future for myself? What a tangled mess! Untangling however is thankfully, miraculously, mercifully simple. Be here, be honest, be brave. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

stone soup

I forget I have a choice, always, to be present and engage with others. I don't have to wait for them. Intimacy is a food. Sometimes it comes easily and naturally, sometimes it gets lost in the constant onslaught of day-to-day preoccupations. Sometimes I'm so hungry for it I lose perspective and, in my impatience, begin to blame others. But there is one thing I've learned and keep learning: you cannot wait for others to give, to be brave, to initiate, to move towards you - you must step forward yourself, and do it again and do it again. It's not a matter of taking what you need, people fall into that, but quite the opposite. It is stone soup. It is all of us in the kitchen together, giving from who and what we are, present to what it is we all essentially need - each other. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

33 years

Today I received a phone call from my Dad who received my letter. This was THE letter. The letter that took me 33 years to write. The one I believe we've both really needed. I don't know of anything you can understand a moment before you're ready, but sometimes readiness requires work and in this sense we haven't time to waste.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

right and good cont.

Tonight 'right' won over 'good.'  Why don't I feel better for it? People, somewhere not too far from me, are kissing under a crimson and white peony sky. Not all of them hate each other. I don't envy any of those people as individuals. I am my self. I have tiger lilies and words, ants too - a random one blazing its way across my desk or waking me with a tickle at the elbow or up the forearm. These tiny visitors are softer and kinder than a hair shirt, but not warmer.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

good and right

"Doesn't it feel good? I mean, doesn't it feel right?" Someone said this to me not too long ago. While it was more a suggestion than a question, I took the time to consider it. The assumption is that the answer to one will be the answer to both. It's convenient to lump these two together indiscriminately. It is decidedly inconvenient to lump these two together indiscriminately. The unnecessary is costly. Not everything that feels good is right. Conversely, not everything that is right feels good. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

with a view

Today I woke slowly. It's summer and for the first time since I've lived here I'm enjoying having the curtains drawn and my windows open. At this time of night you can hear grasshoppers and sounds from the 405. In the morning you can still hear the 405, but the grasshoppers are replaced by crows and occasionally a scream or two from the macaw that lives in the house behind ours. My view is of our neighbor's roof and the tops of the trees that line our street. The way the trees move is lovely and when you're beneath them you get the sense that their branches, similar to a weeping willow's, are reaching gently for you.

My room, having these last few days been slowly relieved of its mess, seems so large to me now.  Lately I've been too busy to pay it much mind. Now it feels strangely large. Large and quiet, as though it accepts me and I, in seeing, accept it. Perhaps these last days are the first I've really felt at home here. At home I'm allowed to feel simple and plain. I haven't felt this way, this strongly, in a while. It's wonderful. It occurs to me that simplicity and plainness are virtues, or can be, and I realize that I want to feel them more often. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

driving home

I saw the sun rise today. It's pink hues backlit the San Gabriel Mountains. I remember mornings when I was younger, laying in bed and watching the light (the miracle of light) gradually give shape, color and texture to the objects around me. How strangely they emerged from obscurity, carved out of darkness.

There's something beautiful about the world at rest, before the house stirs and the mechanics of our daily lives are set in motion. The streets are empty and the birds have not yet begun their chirruping. It was like that this morning. Driving home with the windows down I could feel the moisture in the air. Cool and clingy, it was dew settling on every still-calm or sleeping thing.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

flowers from the Faire

Yesterday I had a hard time. I was having a hard time and it was looking like I might not find support. But support arrived. It arrived bearing gifts of affirmation. It arrived and didn't shun me for being a mess. It arrived drinking Pellegrino and smoking cigarettes. It arrived. It looked me in the eyes and told me I was worthy of love. And when, at these words, I began to cry, it kissed me. The kiss of kindness and understanding. So much so that today I am still tempted to believe.

Hope is a delicate thing.

It is also a hard thing.
How difficult it is at the onset to let it into your heart.
Your stubbornly armored heart.
Then it is harder still to hold onto.
And before all is said and done you may be asked again
To muster your courage.
For the hope that has to be let go of.

picking up the tab

Yesterday's rejection was the realization of one of my worst fears. So much so I have to ask myself if I didn't somehow make it happen. But, once I begin searching my faults for answers, I never seem to stop. There are too many to keep account and besides, on our own it is nearly impossible to have the full story.

But it's true that what we don't know about ourselves can hurt others. Avoiding putting people we care about through unnecessary pain is not the only reason for deep introspection and soul-searching, but it's not a bad one either. No one else should be asked to pick up the tab for our troubled histories or the agendas of our never-quite-satisfied personalities. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

I see in myself an inclination to avoid responsibility. But I want to be the kind of person who runs to, not from, these. Runs. I'll never accomplish my Aim if I keep moving in its opposite direction.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

born to nun

For a long time now I've held the belief that continuing to pursue my Aim in any real way requires a life of abstinence from romantic love and the long-term company of another. Sometimes I believe it is because I am unsuitable, sometimes I believe it's because of a lack of suitable partners. I'm not sure it really matters which, probably neither is the case. And why I decided this would be my sacrifice, I'm still not sure. But sometimes I wish I would just let it go. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

On this day I tangoed. You must really love something to endure dancing not one, but three songs each with Mr. Sweaty-Shakes, Dances-So-Close-I-Can-Taste-His-Cologne AND Kama-Sutra Man. I'm not at all sure on this night I fully embraced the concept of "suffering cheerfully", but at least I know where I can go to practice it - along with my back ochos and molinete.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

On this day I was forced to ride a creaky-ass bicycle to Abbott Kinney where I had brunch with another under a canopy of bougainvillea whilst sitting on a milk crate next to a leaky faucet and about 15 hungry finches eyeing my grub. It was a lovely day.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

the fool

On this day I renewed my wish to keep an open heart in the face of things shifting and uncertain. If I stay present with myself and with others, if I trust what I've learned and who I am, things tend to work out. If, in the course of following my heart, I appear foolish to others, this is a consequence I am ready to accept. Today.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

On this day I was fucking moody and surprised at how maladjusted I seem to be to EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On this day I knelt in someone's lawn and prayed in the moonlight.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On this day I was happily distracted by the seeds of some rare and nasty malady taking root. It could simply be infatuation or, dare I say it, some deeper, longer-lasting kind of affection. Time will tell. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

reaching out

Yesterday I practiced guitar in a new room. At first I only saw how the light fell on everything, how beautifully and gently it brought the things around me to life. Then my attention wandered outside to the birds and the stirrings of a Sunday afternoon in the neighborhood. I realized that the sound from my guitar can be like light too, touching everything. And through it, the fingers of my attention, like appendages, reach out beyond me. How playing need not displace a single bird song or shift a ray of sunshine. That music can go wandering, barefoot, from the heart without bending a leaf or snapping a branch underfoot. How full and grateful this makes me feel. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I almost left you

last night
without reason.
You would have
come out and
found me gone.
Light touches all
manner of flesh
and even,
for a moment
by love. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


For every man I've ever truly loved there is a corresponding part of me that could almost separate itself from the whole in order to make him happy.

Except I can't. And as long as I'm living in this same world which requires that I be singular, that I be a whole and even more than that - a more whole-er whole than I thought possible - there's no room for splitting off and other worlds, only this one. It's all I have. And I'm so, so sorry. Can I ever stop being sorry? And will anyone ever forgive me for not being enough?

Monday, March 11, 2013

tango - men and women

Tension holds the dancers in place. Intention and direction get them moving - one active, one receptive, but both equally empowered. Music guides the way. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

delirium tremens

To "pick your own poison" usually refers to choice of alcohol. I would take this a bit further and assert we literally pick that which poisons us mentally, emotionally and physically. Most of our problems do not land arbitrarily on us like some cosmic roulette wheel, but are stepped into again and again as a natural result of us following our already well-established tastes, habits, and personal histories. The path of least resistance is as inviting and familiar as a comfy couch, but even harder to get out of.

Today I encountered one of these. Why has so-and-so decided not to like me? How unjust. Who do they think they are? Especially when they're the jerk? What a hypocrite, etc. Ok, so my feelings got hurt. Perhaps there's no way around that. But, the occasion granted me an unusual opportunity not only to observe myself reacting to a strong emotional stimulus, but to step outside of it and see the whole thing for what it is - one big energy leak. The fact of the matter is my friendship with so-and-so, in its best moments, still constituted a drip drip drip of energy ultimately never used in support of my Aim.

We give power to things. We give things power over us. We do this to ourselves. No one else. I could choose to give so-and-so the power to create negativity in my life or I could take responsibility for myself. Strange and amazing that such an uncomfortable turn of events has resulted in one of the most important insights I've had about my own personal interference with the work to date. This, practically gift-wrapped with a solution to the problem. I am thankful for this. Don't get me wrong, I hope the situation gets rectified, and soon, but there's no longer any bite in it. I've sobered up. I remember who I am. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Words are holes.

Once we think we know something
we fall into them.
I am
I am this or that.
There's no telling
what will come out of you next.
Mouth like a wound
never closing long enough to heal.
Fill it with silence.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

from a minus to a plus

Today my guitar practice served as a reminder as to why discipline is so important: You hold it in place when you are able. When you're not able, it holds you. I watched as it pulled me through a hormonally-charged, two-day-long negative mood in a way nothing else could. Afterwards I felt a surge of creative energy and was able to channel it into finishing an old drawing. A minus became a plus.

I have, however, been a little shocked at how resistant I am to my new practice regime (I've been taking lessons with Curt) when, after 10 minutes part of me was ready to give up - and not even the bit I was struggling with but the whole of Eye of the Needle. I suspect this a good sign. The 20-30 minute practices I had been doing on my own, aside from being insufficient, were stale. New challenges wake you up a little. Yay for new challenges.

As a side note, the need for a new approach/commitment to the guitar became apparent to me in Mexico this past February when music visited and, as beautiful as it was, left me painfully aware of how little I deserved it. So the question was raised - can I turn what is now a wish to connect with music into will?

Strange that only moments after having journaled that very question I was invited to join the staff/kitchen team circle for a silent meeting with guitars. These are much better players than I. Sucking already and tired to boot, I didn't feel up to it. Walking back to my room a chance run-in with Curt reminded me of what I had written and how missing the meeting did not support my connection with music as an Aim. Leaving him I literally ran to get my guitar. The meeting was as painful as I expected it to be, but there was a moment of trust and glimpsed potentiality that continues to inspire me. How easily I could have missed it in favor of comfort and sleep.

Monday, March 4, 2013


I haven't been open with you lately. I keep expecting myself to resurface here naturally, for air, but it hasn't happened. I'm slow and secretive these days. I've been keeping my feelings safe from the mothering sun, from the heat of exposure. They've taken refuge in cool blues. Vague, moving, underwater shapes I can't quite frame or articulate. Hopefully my latest commitment (to writing) will begin to draw them out. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

more love lessons

I should not take from others more than I am willing to give.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fantasy is the enemy of love.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

motorcycle diaries

I went out for a ride with a friend the night before last. It was already a tad late, but I like L.A. best when the city is just settling down - the last tango dancers in a studio on Washington have the floor to themselves, the lights in a fast-food restaurant flicker off while we wait at a red light (one worker, backlit by the fluorescent glow of the kitchen, remains sweeping up). Wood burning in a fireplace somewhere spices the air. Farther down, we pass a 24-hour Winchell's and are tempted by the almost-irresistible waft of freshly baked doughnuts. I kid myself I can feel the warmth of the ovens, but it's more likely the road.

There is something undeniably romantic about motorcycles. Most people talk as though it's purely sexual. I know my friend likes the feel me on his bike, the way my legs squeeze when he hits the brakes and the comfort of my arms around his waist. I'm not naive, but something transcends all this when we're flying down the highway. My friend and I are simple in these moments; simple people with simple needs. We've both been single long enough even these few small comforts seem to really mean something.

I have two words for my cousin Sarah:

Picasso Boob