artist: anna gaskell, wonder, 1997
There are men who walk through the Redwoods
wearing slip-on shoes
in case they need to fly to Bermuda -
ready to visit their offshore accounts.
Behind glass walls, business moves
from one meeting to another.
The light shines like butter;
the cold air saturated with potential.
My thoughts hover on concepts of pace
[intersections and revolution].
Do you remember asking me
if I liked the style of dress or
how the dress fits the body?
Nostalgia has its own logistics.
If you cut my tongue,
I will still confess
I saw a deer sleeping
inside the Transbay Tube.
a psychology of place
the most traditional pride we have
imagine policies centered within body sovereignty
what we desire is liberation
battles rage at the community level
common ground can be found between neighbors
structural violence is a domestic issue
what we desire is love
please take my hand
it will tell you
everything you want to know
what we desire is more
If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret.
If there was nothing to regret,
there was nothing to desire.
Erie Street 12.31.13
What we carry
is a result
of not knowing
what the day will bring.
As her legs lifted
to step up
onto the sidewalk,
he took a deep bite
into a pastry
as if he had taken
what was not his.
as memories fade into obscure weather patterns
peach colored sunrises expose ripened emotional damage
manifested as silenced motivation
softened by the way distance deceives
we migrate back
and then move forth
power, defined for us, shifts politics of economy
signified by thrift followed by concepts of restraint
did you know orange-eyed pigeons see only pure blue skies
the ironic result of light appearing further from the sun
all of these interactions blend into wider world views
refractions bent in the direction of ineffability
His words struck softly against my skin,
This is where I took the architect.
After being dropped off at the top of the hill,
I tasted metal as his grey truck accelerated back to his real life.
When I got home, you danced for me
after presenting a 15-week plan for our future;
I noticed there was no time scheduled for compromises.
This is when I knew I had found the good side of a habit.
After reading your poem, written the moment when I asked him for his middle name,
I cried. I remembered that day the elevator stopped working and how long it was broken.
Beneath our domestic ceremonies,
minivans crush dry leaves into the dust we wipe off our TV.
It was the sound of rushing, the way the ocean pulls into itself.
Falling and rising, gravity is an indicator measuring distance.
12.30.13, San Francisco, CA
In Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry, Louise Glück admits, ”I liked scale, but I liked it invisible”. Starting from a place of invisibility, a sense of safety, yet maintaining perspective resonates deep within me as winter slowly transitions into spring.
Water in West Virginia is deadly and smells like licorice for hundreds of thousands. In fact, over 300,000 people have been forced to drink only bottled water; the chemical spill’s impact contained within a complete and conveniently round number. Bodies, specifically women and girls’ of color bodies in comas, are illusions for a culture that still claims to value human life. National discussions center the paradoxical, for those in power, concept of growing gaps. Shrinking safety nets catch only the most tenuous of “opportunities” for those who have learned how to survive within the thinnest of margins. Pop stars and Fox news package feminist rhetoric in digestible byte size narratives that keep gender politics profitable.
It feels endless, this parade of brazen hypocrisy. There should be no surprise that we opt out behind private screens, devise elaborate rituals of denial, and post selfies to curate what we wish to be. It’s within this scale of manufactured hopes and inside the disposable commodities of dreams that we strive to find community, love, value, and joy.
Our secrets are exposed as nervous laughs and sighs of hope.
Austin, TX Nov13
Hope is the energy that fuels this story of how we got here, or maybe this story is really about how we have changed in the process of wanting more. If hope is the energy, then gratitude has been the structure from which we are able to draw breath on our own. I have finally accepted that this light, with its various hues of apricot, and if fortunate, shades of ripe grapefruit, warms by promising new beginnings.
This was a year of submitting, writing and then revising; asking for it because I wanted; and taking breaths so deep my lungs collapsed. There were days I woke up broken, days I did not know how to sustain our vulnerability, and many more days I woke to an acute feeling of being alive, a feeling deeper than bruised bone. I was witness to fog so grey it pulled the blues from the Bay.
These dances, this rhythmic gradation of give and take, have transformed old fault lines. Below are ten things I’ve learned during this cycle around the Sun:
- the best decisions are the ones that fade the quickest
- immolation through the act of pressing pen to paper is my valued haptic practice
- the knowledge I have embodied was shaped by intimate failures
- crosswalks can be runways with the right song in your ears
- bravery manifested has exponential rewards and consequential risks
- justice is a habit I can’t break
- inability to forgive yourself is a cardinal sin
- it is true that the world continues to revolve with or without you
- how we see matters
- I really enjoyed eating a blueberry muffin naked in front of you
This post is dedicated to nearly nine years of maintaining this space of inquiry and intentional deconstruction. I wrote to survive, to have a voice. Each sentence is an act of breath, a release of internalized tension and anxiety. This call and response has been my baptism by epiphany.