Friday, December 30, 2011

To anyone who's ever...

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song "The Chain," #23 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

The raw inside, tender and chaffing.
(I'm letting myself feel the missing of you.)
Remember every detail, panic
when one portion of the picture in my mind blurs
and I have to fill it in with what I think was there
(this is a new kind of faith, a different level)
I don't imagine you perfect, and I haven't smoothed out
your lines or made excuses

for your cracks;
I only know that I melted into them
without knowing how it happened.
(some parts of me are hiding
in your pocket when you walk,
behind your eyelids
when you close them in sleep.)


Thursday, December 29, 2011


(Pre-Script: This poem should be read as the song "The Other Side Of the World," #33 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. Hint: If you have earbuds, it sounds better when the music is being pumped directly into your head. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

I'm learning to hold back,

the power of subtlety

instead of unraveling all at once.

I'm going to let my strings out slowly,

I'm going to let myself be caught,

instead of tangling your hair

instead of getting caught up in my own net

instead of tangling all up in your hair.

When I say "I'm learning," I mean I have heard of the concept,

I mean I like the idea,

even though I am not good


(I like hummingbirds,

and I like angel fish,

and I like knowing my own secrets as treasures

on a sandy shore

in the middle of a glistening ocean

which turns turquoise when the sun

hits at just the right angle.)


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


(Pre-Script: This post best recieved as the song," Mysterious Ways," #4 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

This year for Christmas, I was thinking of giving everyone a rock from my rock collection with a note explaining why this particular rock reminds of me this particular friend. Like "This rock is perfectly round and smooth, fits just right in my hand, just like you in my life." or "This rock is bright and sparkles in the sun; it reminds me of you." I would be thrilled if someone gave me a gift like that; most of my friends will not appreciate my rocks.

"You're so weird!"

I've heard that for years; I hear it often.

Hearing it doesn't make me act less weird, though.

So many people are trying to figure out who they are, or are afraid to let other people actually see who they are.

But I've been through crap; I know who I am.

I'm a girl with a rock collection.

I don't just pick up any rock I find; I have to like it, for some reason. A perfect, round rock with enough weight to it feels good in the palm of my hand. I like to hold on while I walk. Heart shaped rocks are always keepers. I like to think that God put them in front of me to send me a message. Sometimes I pass these on to other people when I know they are going through a hard time. I don't worry about what they think of me; I assume no one's ever given them rocks before, and I don't care if they think it's strange or unusual, because I know it is. But it's a reaching out, anyway, and it's the reaching that matters. People don't reach out enough.

I find most of my favorite rocks at the beach or in rivers.

I like to explore.

Today, I went to the beach with a friend. This friend was in a cranky mood, at least towards me.

Quote from nameless friend: "I am feeling irritable. You are not helping."

Me: "Well, I'm glad I know that I'm not responsible for your feelings, because I am in a great mood."

I said that even though I felt stung, and then I walked away, and then I didn't say anything and we split up to do our own solitary things.

Interestingly, this is one friend who can appreciate my rocks and where they came from. This friend will "ooh" and "aah" over interesting rocks with me, marvel at the significance of where a particular rock came from, say things like "I've never seen one like this before; look, it looks like the face of a whale when you hold it this way."

I will look and say "Yes, I can see that."

I was going to find a rock for this friend today while beach walking, but I also know that nameless friend is getting ready to go on a long journey far away, and does not need any extra rocks right now.

And I also know that this friend has told me in the past, "when you leave, you leave a lot behind," and also, "you are not always good at receiving."

to which I had said "Well, I received that."


"Thank you."

Or something.

I did not give this friend a rock today.

(but I did give one to my friend's sister, a perfectly white sparkly quartz, and she said "OH, thank you! I used to collect these, I thought they were so neat!" So you see, I'm not the only one.)


Sunday, December 25, 2011

All of this beauty

(Pre-Script: This poem will explode in your mind if you read it as the song, "Closer," by Joshua Radin, #30 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

The world isn't falling apart,
but some of the people in it are-
we shatter in effortless beauty,
like stained glass
before it has been reassembled and glued
into a window through which light can shine,
through which you can look out and see,
like the first time you saw the automic bomb
and thought, "orange in the blue sky-
unheard of colors exploding right in front of me-"
we watch and tell each other,
"because all of this beauty,
the world is not falling apart."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Driving there

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "The End of the Innocence," #39, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Confession: If I am stuck in traffic with no way out and wearing nail polish, I will start to peel away at my nail polish like I'm peeling off an extra layer of skin, even though I know how demolished my fingernails will look once traffic lets up. I am not so good at handling a lack of margins. Some people can handle a lack, or they hide secret addictions to get through. Create space in a room inside where you are suffocating. I want to drive through life knowing there is a shoulder always there, always there, just in case. But some roads are too narrow. Often life feels like yesterday, when I was trying to merge on to the freeway that was going to take me someplace beautiful, wild, and free, but a large semi truck was blocking my way, (decide now, decide by your actions) and when I looked in the mirror to see if I had room, I caught a glimpse of a small girl with pigtails looking longing out the window and next to her, the boy with the bluest eyes.


Monday, December 19, 2011

After Yesterday's Flood

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Shadowfeet,"#12 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

This morning, I woke up while it was still invisible dark outside. The waking felt like I had traveled from a long, deep place and there had been a dream there, and it had been vivid, but I couldn't hold it in my mind on this side. It slipped out as I stood upright. After yesterday's flood, I thought some caving in might crush me from the inside out. I didn't know if I could touch a solid thing and walk, mostly spirit. I yawned, got dressed in my running shoes. I made a blueberry smoothie and tea, then turned off the kitchen light and was blind, hand feeling my way to a door that was still where I'd locked it last night. I opened to a black silent world. But as soon as I stepped outside, I heard a raindrop, and then another, and then another; a slow building up of sprinkes until the noise on the roof was a full rain shower, which sounded like well timed applause. The sky was cheering for me, and all I had done was walk through a door.

I got into my car quickly, feeling shy.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

If I had a pet bird

(Pre-Script: This post best read as the song, "Blackbird," #22 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

If I had a pet bird, I would get a second pet bird, so that the first would not be lonely. But I would never get a pet bird. I think taming a creature that was created for free flight is a sorrow to everyone, especially but not limited to the bird itself, since the idea of keeping creatures that were built for soaring in the open air over the entire planet in a few feet by a few feet cage is cruel. So I'd have to let my lovelies go, and by letting them go, I own that they no longer belong to me, and never did. They would be free and flying and would quite possibly not ever come back to roost in my trees. But if they did, it would have been their choice. so I'd rather not have a pet bird to begin with, just to save myself from all of that unnecessary guilt and sadness.
I like to think that I live in an alternate universe and I have pet birds there, they belong to me, because I named them, but they are free to fly anywhere, there are no cages and the sky is the limit. In my imaginary alternate world, I have two birds, and I name the first one Lucy, the second one Diamonds, and they are in the sky with each other.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Mean," #42 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

When I was 11, I had a friend who was some days nice to me, like "you're my best friend," nicknaming me "Mickey," which no one had ever called me before, and sometimes was cold, distant, and aloof. Before this, no one had mentioned to me that girls in 6th grade and on sometimes turn into mean villainous monsters. I forgot to turn into one, myself. So one day, I asked her, "Why are you sometimes mean to me?" she looked at me and said very innocently, "it's like, I can't help it. You know?" but I didn't know; I was like, blink blink, "well, I sort of feel like I just want to be nice to each other every day. So no, I don't get it." and then we went through Junior High and High school, and so on until we lost touch. It's taken me this long to realize that she may have not been my nicest friend, but she was probably my most honest friend. Ironically, this particular girl was discovered to be a chronic liar, as the years went on. There was a scandal which is not my story to tell, so I will not divulge it. I only knew that through all of it, I just loved the girl. It took me being out of high school a few years to realize that, so that when I did finally see her again around town years later, after we'd chatted a bit of small talk, I looked her straight in the eye and said "you know, I don't know what was true or what wasn't all those years ago, but what I want you to know is, it doesn't matter; I would have loved you no matter what was true. I just loved you, and I always will." She said "aw," and "thanks," and changed the subject like a master pro. But I hope that my words penetrated deep, to a place usually left untouched, and it sparked something dormant there, something beautiful left dormant too long. But that's not my story to tell, either.
My story to tell goes something like this: I was once again at the beach treasure hunting for sea glass today. I have a friend who lives right above the ocean and will text me when the tide is low to let me know it's a good glass week. This friend didn't ever look for sea glass until I told him about it, and now he finds it when I am not there and gives me what he has collected just because he knows I like it. There is something to be said for a friend who looks out for the things you care about not because it's what he cares about, but because he knows that it means something to you. I honor that logic. The problem is, I don't necessarily follow through from my end. I was on the beach today, with my head down, and when I saw other people up ahead also looking down, I thought "Don't you dare be looking for sea glass, all the glass on the beach today is mine is mine is mine, you can't have it, and there is no such thing as share." I don't believe in sharing, have I mentioned that before? I am not a mom who tells her kids, "you have to share that" because I don't believe in being a hypocrite. I don't let them eat off of my plate, either. It's like, this is my food, eat your own. So I was walking along, thinking these thoughts while the song "Mean," by Taylor Swift blasted into my ear buds via Ipod, when a smiling stranger tossed me a silver dollar sized piece of clear sea glass. It was perfectly smoothed, no rough edges. He said "I don't know if that's a good one or not, but I figured I'd give it to you." I said "It's perfect!" and thought "HOW did he know I was looking for glass??" He walked on, and I looked up and didn't see him again, so I was sure that he was an angel sent to teach me a lesson. Then a smiling girl walked up to me with a handful of sand dollars. She said "Did you find anything good?" smile, smile. I showed her the glass I had found so far. I said to her, "It looks like you are looking for sand dollars." She said "That's just all I've found so far." as we were standing in a plot of sand loaded with gravel, colorful rocks, fossil rocks, sea glass, and seashells. But whatever. She seemed content. She said "Happy hunting!" and kept smile walking. Then my sea glass tossing angel appeared again. This time, he had a green rock in his hand. He said "I don't know if you think this is cool or not, but it's green and flat, and I thought it was kind of cool looking." I said "Cool, it looks like a piece of smashed chewing gum," because that is exactly what it looked like, and he said "yeah, it does!" and I said "but it's not one I want to keep." So we tossed it, but he was very friendly and smiley through the whole exchange, promising to give me any cool pieces of glass he found from that point on. Very kind. I never saw him again. So you know, I guess it was time for him to go back to Heaven, or at least lose his flesh and blood human form for awhile. His message to me, the mortal human, had been imparted to the best of his ability. I wasn't sure how deeply it had stuck, though, as I approached an older couple with their heads facing the ground, in a plot that looked to be promising as far as glass finding went. I smiled at them through theoretically clenched teeth as I asked "what are you looking for?" The man said "heart shaped rocks." at which statement, I unclenched my metaphorical teeth and smiled more genuinely than before. Like, oh, is that all? Cool. And then I exposed my vulnerability. I said "I like to look for sea glass." The woman, who had not been a part of that conversation, then approached, and I, feeling extremely relieved and therefore jovial, said "So, you're looking for heart shaped rocks?" she said "No! I have a ton of those already! Just interesting looking shells now." and she showed me a few. Still feeling relieved, I said "cool, awesome," and the man, looking sheepish, said "heart rocks, interesting shells, and the occasional piece of glass." That was all it took to bring the snarl and hiss back out of me. May my giving angel of sharing and giving not be too terribly disappointed in my character flaws. But the thing is, when I am searching the beach for glass, I feel like a kid, do you know what I mean? I never ever get tired of it, and I sometimes gasp out loud when I find a particularly incredible piece just laying there near the shore. I don't care what your passion is, I hope that everyone in the world has one, something that excites and brings the child likeness inside out, because it's the simple joys in life that make you so happy throughout the days and weeks and years of a lifetime, and THAT is the lesson I want my children to pick up vicariously from me, if it wasn't accidentally already passed down through genetics.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Cold the Whole World Over

(Pre-Script: This poem best read as the song, ""The Chain," #23 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

I no longer want to be the girl
who sabotaged her former self
to sell a painting to a man in Times Square
for 32 cents and a bagel.
I no longer want to be the girl
who looked at the pretty things all around her
and drew a line through the middle of them
with her permanent black marker

one week before the antique dealer

was about to make her an offer
she could or couldn't refuse;

it would have been her choice.
I no longer want to be the girl

who ate her way to the North Pole

only to find that it wasn't a land mass,

and nothing grew there,

it was just the frozen form

of ocean no longer waving
no longer roaring

just cold just deep old cold
the whole world over.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Slide Quietly Out

(Pre-Script: This post best read as the song, " The Scientist," #41 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Slide quietly out of a comfortable chair,
then March

to the window,
and March

out the door,

while the sky pours,

while the sky scorches,

while the sky changes from raining to scorching,
knowing that

whatever is in between won't be felt.
(i thought i could look at your picture;
i thought a lot of things i hadn't yet done


Sunday, November 27, 2011


(Pre-Script: This poem is best served up as the songs, "The Other Side Of The World," #32 on the playlist, then "Arms," #29 on the playlist, play in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on those songs in that order, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Your meal was savored succulence; I
tasted salt, I tasted sweet, I tasted
cohesive blends of waterfowl.
I was satiated, I wanted more.
I was full and happy and nappy and then
the table was cleared, utensils washed, put away
full cupboards wiped down and closed
the table bore not a crumb
the peasant ate pheasant and all
was not satisfied, she wondered,
so many things did she wonder.
(and if you are ever serving again, she will
order off of the menu, straight off of the bone)


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shells and stones and ancient bones

(Pre-Script: This post best read as the song, " The Scientist," #42 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Shells and stones and ancient bones
are scattered at my feet;
A whispered roar of memory
from deep within the deep;
Once inside a body strong
that navigated waves,
and calculated distant shores,
and thought of me as brave.
The water numbs, then chills the soul,
all murky down below.
The sun, too bright to look upon,
still blinding in it's glow,
reflects off of her surfaces;
bakes sand midafternoon;
that burns the barefoot bottom feet,
and then is gone too soon.
While all around, the stones of bones,
their stories left to chance,
dried out, washed clean, these shells of our
haphazard remembrance.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Human Nature

(Pre-Script: This poem should be read as the song "Good Intentions," #38 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

It is human nature to be drawn to something because
it looks from a distance like what we are looking for,
and when we pick it up and realize that it is not what we thought,
it is human nature to sometimes hold it and put in in our pocket, anyway,
making an exception because we
are so tired of looking and waiting.
Sometimes this works, and we find that we have gained
a treasure different than we'd thought we wanted,
but none the less satisfying,
and maybe comforting, even,
in it's own way.
and sometimes it starts to feel heavy in our pocket,
the thing that is not the exact thing,
so we have to toss it out, and take the time to feel the emptiness of
an empty pocket for awhile,
but the unexpected lightness of it, too.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Terry and The Man

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Superman," #2 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

I am once again driving home from work while listening to NPR. I listen to NPR because I enjoy talk radio, and also because my singing-along-at-the-top-of-my-lungs-like-I-am-the-superstar-and-the-actual-singer-is-just-my-backup stations are all playing commercials or songs I dislike. Terry Gross's guest on "Fresh Air" is an Astrophysicist. (The last interview I heard of hers was with one of the cast members of Saturday Night Live. ) This man has won a Nobel award of some sort, because apparently, he studies supernovas that have exploded. This is, according to him, a tricky thing to study, because you need very special telescopes, and because the nature of the supernova is that there is no way of predicting when one will explode, so I guess you sort have to watch and find one by chance when you are looking at the sky through your super lens at the exact right time. The thing that the Really Smart Man has told Terry, and that she has regurgitated for us, her listening audience, is that "The universe is gradually getting larger."

Well Duh. (I could have told her that...)
(...only I don't have the degree to back up my claims; just children, by whom the entire universe is measured.)

What is bothering me about this conversation is that Astrophysicist Man can tell Terry Gross anything, anything at all, and Terry, and all of us, the listening public, will just listen and nod like we believe what he was saying, even if we don't understand it, because he is the one with the title and the degree, and because we have not studied it ourselves, nor do we care to do so, anytime soon.

Therefore, we have no way to disprove any of it.
Astrophysicist:"The universe is getting larger."
Listening audience: nod nod
Astrophysicist: "I study exploding supernovas because I can see them through this very specialized equipment I own and know how to properly operate."
Listening Audience: nod nod
Astrophysicist: "I am careful to only operate this highly technicalogical machinery when I am absolutely sober and have had a good night's sleep."

Listening Audience: nod nod
Astrophysicist: "Last night, I saw rainbows exploding into actual Skittles, only they did not land on earth, they landed on Pluto, which you know is no longer a planet, it is now a star or a comet or a figment of the collective imagination of the entire intergalactic wing of NASA. We just like to add a little blue dot on the map of the planets sometimes when we get bored."
Listening Audience: nod nod


Friday, November 4, 2011


(Pre-Script: This poem goes best as the song, "Wherever you will go," #42 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

The flash flood hit me sideways,
a reminder to clean out the storm drain,
clear the leaves from the thing that grew last season,
then let go of what had dried up and died.
(When you were small, you were golden,
and I marveled at your colors-
white blond on olive tan-
all the things that I am not, birthed through me,
me at my most creative.)
There was no time to steel myself
against the thing that was knocking me off of my feet.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Any Other Tuesday

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Paradise," #43 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

So there I was in the middle of my nightmare, just at the part where the two headed sea monster lifts his head out of the middle of the open sea, in which I have unwillingly found myself. I have been having this dream for 17 years, I think. Only this time, I blinked, and it wasn't a dream.

how did I get here?
There are those who say that the ocean is the culmination of all of the worlds tears, and that's why it is so salty. How ironic that the one thing we all need, we have an abundance of, yet in a form that, if we drink it, will kill us. How often have I indulged in my own emotional suicide, simply by taking little sips here and there at my own ocean; so sure it's enticing appearance is what I need to make it through this day. I'm no longer so sure that such self indulgence is a good thing. I used to believe that it was.
It had started out to be a Tuesday. I was going to meet a friend for lunch. Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: when making plans to meet a friend for lunch, be sure to remember whether this is one of your sane friends or not. Not only is Joel off center, he is the most insane person I have ever been semi close to. I say semi close because how can one be fully close to someone who is so busy swinging from one extreme to the next, as if on his own internal pendulum? if you get too close you might lose an eye. Still, even not close, Joel and I have always been close. We haven't seen each other in, like, 10 years, but we have always been close. I would do the math for you, but I only just made it through Geometry and Statistics because I was too busy daydreaming and answering my own internal formulas to pay attention in class. So when Joel showed up at the pub, instead of saying "hi," or "how are you," like other people do, the first thing he said was, "There are whales off the coast in Santa Cruz right now!"

Me: "let's go see them!"
Joel: "I'll drive."

Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: When making plans to fill in the blank of your own life, be sure to remember whether you are sane or not. I am only semi sane, usually. Why are so many relationships based on the consummation of too many calories, anyway?

We drove off in a car headed towards the end of the land,

the beginning of the water,

the end of where I exist as a solid unit and my subconscious mind take over.

Where the sidewalk ends.

Where the Wild Things Are.

Where the world drops off into liquid fear.

I, like so many sanity seeking folks I know, like to stand back from the edge of that place, and watch from a safe distance. But that was before I had a crazy man driving the car, (ask yourself, why did I agree to strap into the passengers seat of a crazy man's car?) illegally making phone calls to rent a kayak as he drove. He was also calling his cousin to meet us at the kayak place because standing on the shore was not enough for Joel, and he knew it would not be enough for his cousin, either. They both wanted to be out there, where whales were a live happening. They wanted to actually jump off of the kayak and swim with the whales. They wanted to sing songs with the whales and watch their IQ's leap 20 points. I just wanted to make it out of the experience alive enough to actually enjoy whatever IQ I was left with on dry land.

Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: Always be sure the people who are accompanying you to your greatest fear at least have a holy reverence for your fear, or at least are not going to go barreling head first into it so you have no chance to do the thing half way, even if you wanted to.
Or be like me, and completely disregard your own advice.

Here's why I agreed to get in the kayak with my crazy friend and his even crazier cousin:

Not because I wanted to do the thing that terrified me, but because I wanted to have done it.

I sat in a kayak with two fearless men who did not slow down as the open ocean approached, but sped up to be a part of it; who, when they saw whales, paddled as fast as they could

directly over where the whales had just gone under. I was the only one who considered the possibility of being swatted by the whale's massive body, of being killed, or worse,




(And then to have to continue living.)

After being swallowed whole by wave upon wave of my own fear, I eventually found that since I had no choice but to be fully in this moment, I let go and found myself on the shores of the peace that passes all understanding. I unclenched myself long enough to realize that a kayak, though tiny compared to the whole of the ocean, practically driftwood against the strength of a humpback whale, is actually fairly stable. Plus we had oars; I had much more control of this moment than I had been willing to believe.

Unexpectedly, the whales, right in front of our kayak, both jumped out of the water headfirst, facing each other.

I think we were 20 feet away from them.

I have never seen anything like that, and neither have you.

It wasn't until I was standing on solid land, the kayak having been securely secured to the top of the car, that I looked down and realized that there were salt deposits all over my arms, legs, and face; the places usually only touched by the salt of my own sweat, my own tears, had been purified from some primitive, deep store where the tears of all of the whole of the world were touching me, and I chose to bear witness. I did not wash it off for at least the rest of the day.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Save A Fish (The Beginning of the End)

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Crashing Down," #29 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song. Then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)(...still waiting...)

I saved the life of a fish today.

It was just flopping there on the shore, near the water, but just outside of it. I'd never seen that before, and I've been to the shore about 27,338 times. Not that I have been counting or anything. I was fascinated by the fish, so full of life and floppiness. Yet I knew it was dying. I knew it by the way he was talking to me, his mouth flopping open and shut, open and shut, like he was speaking to me in his ancient, native fish language about all of the things he feared and hoped...which were likely all of the things that I feared and hoped, too, and I wanted to say to him, "I know," because I did know. I had so much in common with that fish that I would have liked to have sat him down at the nearby coffee shop and done some lip flapping of my own, in the language he would not understand, either, but which would have mirrored everything he had just said to me back at him. I sensed he did not have time for it, though. I knew that the humane thing to do would be to throw the fish as far as I could out into the ocean. But I am not nearly that magnanimous. I could not stand to touch his slimy fish body, though I did admire the beauty of his rainbow scales and how they glowed in the sunlight. I noticed some nearby seaweed, still wet, so I wrapped that around the fish, the idea being to pick him up in the sea weed and throw the whole live fish burrito wrap into the sea. But the reason that the whole concept of the "live fish" burrito has never taken off in fish markets around the world, aside from obvious reasons, is that live fish just fling themselves right out of that burrito wrapper; they do not like to be contained, especially if their wrapper is itself wet and slippery. I will point out here that seaweed is quite healthy to eat, and the concept of seaweed wrapped fish burritos is actually a pretty good idea, so good, in fact, that I am surprised no one else ever thought of it before.

"But Michelle,

My imaginary reader interrupts here-
"Michelle, someone else did already think of that, and called it 'sushi.'"
"...and the fish is not alive, but raw, which is as close as you can get."

Oh ya.

So anyway, after the fish flung itself back onto the sand, having decided that my seaweed sandwich idea was not in it's best interest, I had to think of something else. And since I could come up with no other way to get the fish back into his desired ocean with my own two hands, I had no choice but to kick the fish back into the water. Only I also couldn't stand the thought of my feet touching the fish, either. So I sort of dug my toes in the sand right under where the fish was, and kicked the sand up towards the ocean. At the time I did this, the tide rolled in, so it ended up being a group effort, my self from one end, the ocean from the other. When the tide rolled back, the fish was still on the shore, though closer to sea, so I had to repeat this fish kicking process a few more times, and the ocean continued to help me from it's end of the bargain. Eventually, the sea rolled back out, and took the fish with it. I imagine by this time, the fish had regained his sense of hope, and started swimming on it's own again, no longer requiring the assistance of a random beach girl and the entire weight of the ocean. I imagine that he swam out with gusto, and that now there was a message in all of his lip flopping, and he was able to carry it on to his fellow fish friends. I hope to someday be done with my own shore flopping, my own open mouthed yapping to those who don't have a clue what I am saying, or how to save me from my own extinction, but who nevertheless put forth the effort and creativity to try, in hopes that something greater than all of us will catch me on the other end, bless them. I was encouraged by this thought as I watched the receding tide.

But most likely what actually happened is that once the fish got out to the sea I had helped him get back into, he was eaten by a fish much larger than himself, and that it happened so fast, as he was in mid "never give up" hope inducing speech, and he never saw his own doom coming. This is as it should be.


Friday, October 21, 2011

why i run

(Pre-Script: This poem should be read as the song, "Gravity," #20 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

because when I'm not doing it,
I forget how much I hate doing it,
which is the only reason
anyone runs.
Today I went slow, because of a busted leg
that sometimes I can pound anyway,
sometimes not, and today
was a "sometimes not."
Still, I ran what I could because life
is running up hill carrying the broken
aching thing.
We carry this pain up the mountain,

and wince.

I kept my eyes down just at the
next step in front of me,
since knowing I have more to go than that far
is enough to send me reeling,
and sometimes
even knowing that much is still too much to know.
so I close my eyes and pray my way,
by feel more than sight,
in faith that the next step
will be the one in front of my foot.
I heard a voice telling me to look out
over the vista point since I was here anyway.
I was not particularly moved by the buildings down below,
though it was an impressive view.


Selling Me

(Pre-Script: This poem should be read as the song, "Round Here, #36 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

"Don't try to sell me on you"

you said,


I have no need

to sell you something that

I already own.

That's why I am free to give you things-
rocks and books and pictures I drew, something
that reminds me of you or your shadow,
something that reminds me of me in the ways I
like to be remembered.
And you would look me funny
with your face slightly turned and your
body language temporarily frozen in mid
gesture of guffaw
when I tell you that,
your eyes would say "you are lying,"
then soften slightly, rise to actually meet mine finally,
and ask, "are you REALLY sure about that?"
by which point I have already moved on in the conversation
to saying the thing that is me being who naturally comes out of my mouth
which is me and not some
version who wants
to be proven by the thing I already know inside, even if
you don't yet know it.

It took me until this afternoon

to realize that what I do doesn't matter

half as much as why I do it,

and that my freedom in knowing

means that you are free to not have to.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Empty Shells

(Pre-Script: This poem should be read as the song, " Other Side Of The World," #33 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Last night I had two dreams, both about being stuck in a shopping mall with a lot of levels and a lot of stairs. I remember the pervasive feeling of loneliness, and it was a huge contained space in which to feel so very deeply lonely.
So today, I drove to the most open space I know. All the way there, I sang loudly at the top of my lungs and imagined I was singing on a stage where people were listening and loving it-not loving my voice, necessarily, but loving ME, for being there, for doing it, for my moxie and willingness to stand before them and sing, anyway. It was overcast when I got to the shore, and I was alone, and I let the waves crash over me because that was where the glass was hidden among the pebbles, the treasure just there where the waves were breaking, so I let myself get soaked by them, I let them wash over me as I continued searching beneath.
Later, when I was cold and goose bumped, I drove away wondering where I was going. I was so tired and wanted a place to rest my head. Shivering takes a lot out of a person, especially the soul shiver of not knowing where I might exist in this world, but guessing that it's some place I have not yet seen, or that has not yet been discovered, or is not even a physical place on this planet. How many rocks and broken shells a person can turn over, shells that once contained something, that now when you hold them up to your ear you hear the rush and whisper of the lives they once contained, what they at one time housed. I drove back with a bucket full of beautiful, empty shells and wondered where I would eventually lay my head.


White Board

(Pre-Script: This poem should be read as the song, "The End of The Innocence," #40 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

We write the truth, our truths-
in red, purple and black,
bruise colors-
they are hard to read even
when you press down,
the ink is old and drying, but
we write because it is still our truth
still our bruises, ours
("if I didn't trust you,
I wouldn't let you write on my whiteboard,"
you said)


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Other such smallish things of delicious proportions

(Pre-Script: This post goes best with a side of 100% pure maple syrup and as the song, "Uncharted," #27 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

So I don't know about you, but I just spent about an hour and a half inventing a new recipe. I was craving pancakes. I almost just said, 'I was craving 'a pancake,' but that would have been misleading; I don't believe in eating only one pancake/cookie/cupcake/ or other such smallish thing of delicious proportions...I think that to eat just one is a form of torture heretofore not developed by warring countries against their prisoners. It is much easier to eat none than just one. I don't believe in portion control. I think that if you are going to indulge in the good stuff, go big, go large, go huger than gigantic. The only other option is abstinence; there is no sane in between place. Trust me.

My friend Vicki and I used to create these elaborate feasts for each other when we were hungry. We would scour the fridge and cupboards and come up with a smorgasbord of whatever looked delicious. Often, it involved Pillsbury Grand biscuits that we would dip in ranch dressing with a side of sugar wafers-the pink, white, and chocolate variety pack-which we would eat while watching some made for TV movie that her mom had recorded the week before. Often, if would involved finishing whatever variety of cookies were in the house. Man your posts, Oreos. Try to hold up a fight against us and our glasses of milk, chips ahoy!. We decided that it was most conciderate of us to eat all of the cookies instead of leaving just one behind for her sister. We discussed heartily and agreed that for her sister, or anyone else, to come home to a house that contained only one cookie would have been cruel, so we did not leave a single cookie behind. It was a mercy killing; it was the least we could do. Sisterly love has no limits.* I would like to point out here that yes, we were sober during these smorgasbord-athons, unless you consider the Ritalin that I was taking in doctor prescribed large quantities that made me ravenous every 3 hours, yet still caused me to lose about 20 lbs. And Vic was just thin because she was the kind of young toned thing that we all love to hate. And also, this was just about the time when Vic and I took up running as a sport, because we had heard that running was "good for us." I'm the only one of us who stuck to it, and I now run enough miles every week for both of us. But she has asthma as an excuse, having been born almost 3 months premature, so it is only natural and right that I would be the one to keep up with the running. But I digress.
So there I was, craving a bushel full of pancakes this afternoon, but not willing to invest in the carbohydrates. The only plausible solution I could come up with was to make up my own recipe, and so I did; in roughly 17 seconds, (but I wasn't actually timing it) I had come up with a no carb recipe involving quinoa and crushed flax seeds which was already causing my salivatory glands to work overtime, and I was already serving them up at a cute-ish, small-ish pancake and smoothie cafe that also plays live music various nights of the week in the quaint comfortable room in the back where the customers sit on mismatched easy chairs and plush couches with colorful throw pillows that sometimes get tossed around if the Friday night music is particularly rousing and the crowd is particularly randy. And then I went home and created my dream concoction.
It was delicious, and at the same time, not so much. In fact, it kind of sucked. I loved it, anyway. In my mind, I am already tweaking what needs to be tweaked to make the next batch better than this one. Like for instance, actually measuring the ingredients might sometimes come in handy. So much of life is about the pursuit of creating the perfect pancake. The thing is, you can never get it perfect all the way. I enjoyed the mother load of pancakes that I ate today because I had taken the time to make them myself, and because of the satisfaction that comes with that. And also because in the end, they weren't half bad; in fact, they were pretty darn tasty. I would toast to that, if my fingers weren't so maple syrup sticky.


*Except for when it does.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What you didn't know

(Pre-Script: This poem should be read as the song, "Somewhere Only We Know" plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)
You gave me a card with a picture
on the front that you unknowingly
pulled out of the dream I've been having
for 17 years,
the one image I had yet not figured out,
the one image I had not yet told you about,
at least not with words,
and then I knew.
Seeing in front of me on paper what I had only been seeing
on the inside of the bones of my skull
told me in an instant
what 17 years of analysis had not,
and I did not need to read what was inside-
there were words you had written
but they were someone else's language,
did not make sense to me, because
they were wall words,
and I was lightening, and what does lightening
understand of concrete,
except to illuminate the truth of it,
except to shatter it in two.
(Why are you so afraid that I
am not afraid of your truth?)