we dug our hands into soft sand – fire-beach children. my son’s pudgy fingers pressing at the earth, my fingers dancing around shells/pockets full of waves and sunken bits of salt-treasure. we made a mound – a simple mound/a thrilling mound. decadent with shell bits, ornate with pearlescent rocks – simple colors/magnetic cream and golden hue – something found, something borrowed, something blue and black and hollow. a shell, a whisper/a flagpole at the top of a tower. a firmament – a creation – a castle – a mound – a pile of wet sand/a toddler. a dream afternoon – silence, the splash of the tide, the concoction of clouds in the sky – curdling into a late afternoon storm. gathering, gathering. the sky is gathering. our hands our gathering. sandrain, we dream a wish moment. we build the captain of this ship – a tiny sliver of shell. a broken home washed up on the shore. we gather, we gather. we dig our hands in. we wash with the waves. we wave with the current. we sit in the silence – in the crash – in the din – in the storm-gather. we are a pair of sand-children, we are a pair of silent eyes creating a thrilling mound. and watching it get washed back out to sunken bits of salt-treasure.
and i opened the door, flurried-faced and rushing and i heard that old familiar weep coming from my mother. the one i had learned to put away. i curled around the corner in slow motion, lurching every little wooden floorboard. you had notepad on your lap, and words scribbled on it that rubbed against my eyes, that sandpapered against my ears. harsh words, new words, vocabulary that hasn’t been revisited in a long time. stage 4, inoperable, chemotherapy. resolute words. words that tell a story within themselves. you said i can’t believe both my parents are going to die from cancer. i felt the air leave the room, the shock tingle up my spine, the resoluteness come to sit on my shoulder. all of the sudden. all of the sudden.
i think about time. about the unsteady, guilty, lack of clarity to how the timeline will fall out. how you’ll feel guilty for not doing more, for not being there. i think about sickness, i think about all the people with irresolute time. all the people waiting. i think about ryan. i think about fairness, and what a silly frame we put on our time. what we think we deserve. i think about what a fucking awesome life my grandfather has had. how he has been bold and strong and inspiring and smart and witty every single day that i known him.
but the night before – we were vibrant song-children. we were shooting off fireworks in the yard, getting told to keep it down by the police, rolling drum sets out of the backs of vans. we were cobble-headed moonbeams, we were violet-light singers. we all stayed up so late laughing we watched the full moon rise over the tops of the highest trees. we were 2am grilling and feasting on smoked meats. i kept checking the stars, i kept watching the moon rise, i kept filling my eyes with the sounds bouncing around me. i kept watching the moonrise.
and even now – the fireflies are dancing upwards in the grass as if they know everything. as if they know that we know nothing. that time is a dream. that dreams are alive. that magic is a whisper right in front of your eyes. that the seasons will keep birthing. that the fields of wheat will still roll in the wind, will still bend in the storm, will still grow in the morning. and even now – the fireflies are glaring their mystery show for tiny peaks and upturned valleys – little fire dance whether we are watching or not. whether we are watching or not.
i think about you and i hope for no pain, for wide breaths, for a few more sunsets. i hope you can watch a few more fireflies rise in the twilight. i hope for a few more pies, some decadent naps, some blissful dreams, some fresh july blueberries. i hope you get a few more summer storms, a few more races down the highway. i hope everyone tells you they love you. and i hope you feel no pain. i hope you know how strong you are, how loved you are, how inspiring your life has been. you wrote the maps to the moon, grandpa, and no one can take that away from you. i hope you get a few more moon rises, that it shines glassy-eyed and full, and that it gives you enough light to see in the dark.
follow my little trail, breadcrumbs and bones – turn style ribbons/hampers full of typewriter keys/ follow my little footsteps, i am dancing, i am a river.
the sky is purple haze and lilac-cream and the rain is a gentle visitor on my head. the summer is curling outwards and i am trying to remember to take it in. i am trying to remember to take the time to breathe it in, to feel the rain on the roof, the clatter of cloud shapes across the sky. i am trying to remember to feel the grass between my toes, on my back, between my fingertips. i am creating in a new way now – dancing and plotting and graphing and charting and moving bodies in space. teaching and directing and discovering aspects of my own strength i had not yet tapped in to. i am owning my shit and bumbling boldness in ways i did not even know i truly love. i am enjoying a new process, a firm hand, a vast crafting. seeing a show from the other side. making decisions and sticking to them. being clear, crafted, specific. on the beat. inside the sound. with the rhythm. swaying. i am enjoying creating and i am enjoying getting to revisit my beloved soul. this show feels sacred to me. like a carved part of my ancient heart. a ghost that came to sit and heal me at a time when i was broken. a melody that came to sing me out of grief when i was all sorrow and flutterskin. when i was life-shaken and curledfear this music came to sit on my shoulder. to be life-affirming. to sing out the sorrow and show me how beautiful it was. and i could hear it – reflecting back – the beauty in the depth of your sorrow – the beauty in the human experience, the human struggle, the human spirit. the sensory experience of life and living. of finding the light in the darkness. and the comfort of making peace with the darkness, and the glow of holding fast to the smallest of lights – that’s what this show gave me. and kept giving me. and kept giving me. and walked me out of pain so that i could sit with sorrow. and sit with beauty. and sit with joy. and feel the shadows, the ghosts, the lights, the melody, all at once. sit with the autumn and winter of your soul, and languish in the spring and summer of your soul.
and you said the best way to describe me is that i inhabit my body completely. and i have since i was a teenager. and that that was special. and that was a beautiful thing to say, i think.
so let’s sing it – the song of purple summer.
and it is not binary; it is complex. and it is not one season we all endure – it is all of them. and they are all this life. and it is not parts and parts and parts. it is complex. it is not binary, it is complex.
and when the moment comes, you’ll know it.
and the moment came. and I gave Jamie his last milk tonight. and i felt so fucking proud of myself. for breastfeeding him for 3 years straight. for giving it my all. for giving him everything. my body, my life, my time, my strength. and i felt sad. no, sad is not the word. simply overtaken. with the momentousness of raising a child in your hands. of holding him with patience until he is able to hold himself. in being able to give that to someone. in the gratitude i have that the best person i know in the world is my son. that i get to lie with him on the bed and look at his sleeping face and see this person that has come into the world. this fucking amazing human being. that will one day be a man of his own. that is already growing in to a boy of his own.
i promise to honor you. to stand by you. to try my best to give you my best. to remember you in innocence and know your truest heart. to keep my promises. to talk honestly and with patience. to be patient with you. to let the moments of your life unfold and to try to give you the foundation to be fearless. to be wide-eyed and full of light. the way you have been every single day of your life since you came in to my arms three years ago.
the moment came, and it was on a sun-dappled afternoon in july. it was warm breeze through the open summer window, it was 7-o-clock golden light dancing through the pane. it was the month you came tumbling in to this world. i finally pulled myself from your longing mouth. i saw how my body had grown yours, first inside of my skin, then outside. i saw how strong and true and beautiful you had grown. i let you lay there on the pillow next to me, blissful and dreaming. i let myself cry a few tears. i knew i had done well for you. i knew you were strong. and i knew i was strong, for walking the strange and lonely path i have to this moment. i cried because of the incredible journey we took to this moment. i cried because the moment was beautiful, because the moment was sad, because the moment was bittersweet. i cried because you were so beautiful lying there on the pillow. i cried because the moment was ending – because you are growing up – because i was able to pinpoint this moment along a constellation of moments that are before and in front – and that the train is going to keep barrelling – faster now, with your own stride and your own wings about to catch up with your body. and soon you will learn to flutter, to flap, to fly. and i will be floating here – frozen – on a bed, dappled inside the 7-o-clock summer sun. and you will never know this moment but in a primal ticking on the inside of your brain. and i wish you could conceive of how precious and sweet this part of life is – i wish we all could. i wish we could all remember it. honor it. hold on to it. make the glow of the summer hum through the window pane last and last and last. and here you are, lying on the bed now – so little, so big, all at once. i allowed myself to cry for only a moment. and then i curled myself off the bed and let you dream. and let you breathe. and let you grow. all by yourself.
am i not, to some degree, a summation of stories? a summation of the stories i tell myself? a summation of the stories you tell about me? the stories we create about ourselves and the way we retell them?
whisky water tinkle machine –
copious amounts of clarity and
i think about guilt, how to sit with it/where it should sit in me/if i should carry it and how/what it serves, who it belongs to
i think about gratitude. about the thrill of adventure, about the experience of new road under my feet – heralding me forward, wrapping me around a roller coaster, ejecting me across an architecture of metal at impossibly inhuman speeds. i think about wonder, about imagination. i kept thanking the world for making the imaginations around me in Orlando, the world-building, the dreamings. i thought about someone’s idea for a children’s book coming to physical life around them. a manifestation of imaginings in a young single-mom’s head. that thought felt so touching to me I thought I might cry. i thought about what this story she made had meant to so many people – the escapism and willingness to dream – what that had given so many people. the outlet to something magical and real all at the same time. such a cliche joy that place gave me. in the most wonderful way. i am okay with the unpretentious cliche sentimentality of it. i was okay with the fervor – with the unmistakable stench of merchandising and profiteering and cashing in. i allowed myself to not get angered about that. because there was also an unmistakable, overwhelming passion baked into the artistry, detail and rigor of the place. of genuine love and care. people that really cared about a story about magic really cared enough to imprint their own artistry on the creation of something to fulfill everyone else’s shared, collective imaginings about a story. and that felt meaningful. and there were traces of meaningful and traces of real artistry caked into the fake, warnerbrother walls. and so i was okay with the hocus pocus of it. i was okay with the falseness of it. because the meta-meta strangeness of creating such a place felt like such a beautiful human endeavor, on the core of it. and you could feel the honest love for story that was there. i have no patience for high-wire american capitalism sucking the soul out of something filled with soul. but this felt slightly opposite. it felt real – it felt doused in soul – it felt it had a heart still beating. and i was thankful to be a part of the whole creation. to give it my eyes. to have my own imaginings become part of the collective. baked on to all those walls. all the faithful, magic-believing eyes that come to fill it up – maybe that’s what i was feeling. all the collective love, all the collective imagination being projected onto the tapestries and painted lanterns. all the eyes that laid their own meaning on the fake siding and the poured-concrete. all the desperation that wanted it so badly to be real. all the wanting. all the traces of that wanting still stuck on the place. all of the ability of the mind to just push a little bit further forward, and fill in the dots. all the tricks and trades of our powerful minds. all the tricks of our senses. but no, it is not a trick – it is the power. the power of our senses. it is not a trick they are pulling on us, universal and warner brothers. it is the power of our own mental force that we are engaging. to engage in collective imagination together. to engage in collective play and belief in story. in magic. in life just that much more meaningful. it is the honoring of aesthetic and the power of sensory experience. it is a trick. and it is a willingness to let go of the nonsense of the falsities of the adult world. to find that other world. to create it together. to build towards newness. towards strangeness. towards exhilerating discovery of what is possible. it’s building a strange replica of an imaginary world that was dreamed up in a dreamer’s head. it’s a strange thing that humans did. it’s a homage to the power of aesthetic and the power of story and the power of creation. and it meant something to me because i am not afraid to say that things mean something to me. because i want things to mean something to me. and a thousand little and big eyes that all felt meaning inside of themselves pressed their eyeballs and hands onto fake stucco walls and made it meaningful. and the meaning lingers on the wall. builds like layers of paint. smothers plastics in real, human soul. and over time, begins to live. a collective organism of people’s love breathing and festering on something that capitalism tried to feed off. but we are feeding off of imagination, not merchandise. we are sucking on the marrow of something real, and the sideshow of price tags is just catching the lucky drippings off of something meaningful. something that the cynical, deflated people of this country and this post-post-modern world still find refuge in. story, magic, creation, imagination. something strange and free. fantastical and alive. because we want it to be. and that is our power. that we have not yet learned how to grasp. we have not yet acknowledged just how powerful and magical we all are. the power of our mental capacities.
and that is our power. that we have not yet learned how to grasp. we have not yet acknowledged just how powerful and magical we all are. the power of our mental force. of our creative consciousness. of our collective consciousness. of our belief, of our creative forces, of our imaginings, of our meaning making machines. imbuing things with meaning, and then they are meaningful. we are endlessly magical, if we learn to see ourselves through the right kind of eyes. get out of your head, get out of your silly head. look at yourself through the bottom of a glass bottom boat – through the lens of a thousand twirling macroscopes – we are a strange and magical creature. we have mind on our side and consciousness to discover. and all you want to do is worry about your taxes. and bitch about the tiny things. and never look at the strange, big picture. and weep at the beauty. and rapture yourself into wonder at the majesty of consciousness. what a strange world, what a strange world. what a magical world. fucking honor it. do it mother fucking justice – this thing, this thing of being a human being in this strange sensory body – what a mother fucking magic. what a mother fucking magic.
we are a muss-puddle of new words, new feet, new tramplings over new memories. we are a mud-liscious appetite for Florida summer storms on the horizon, dousing us in hurricane-heavy rain. we are a pair of cousins again, two feet, one feet, 6-feet-tall and four-legged between us. we step in stride again, theme-park pouncing and twirled hair tingling. we are thorough – pummeling through the parade of perishable presences – a thousand attractions filling our eyes, 3D-virtual-reality rolling through the richness of our grown-up heads – somehow believable, somehow believing. we are wizard wheezing – full set decor and finely tuned magic miracle-ing about us like youth on wheels. we are a seussical – a weird oracle of happenings/herculean and hopping mad. we are walking, walking, walking/youth on wheels – pummeling an amusement park with bemusement, wizened eyes that still turn on their sides and a cynical laugh towards commercialism. capitalism flying high – turncoats and tophats a-plenty, begging for profit on every street corner – shameless and slimy – replete and resplendent in its rapacious glory. all a-flutter, all a-twitter, the unabashed decadence of a country in demise, the repulsive resonance of every chord being strung at once – the strange music of a tightrope on fire saying walk this way, walk this way, we have nets to catch your fallen possessions. we have possessions to catch your fallen souls. we have souls to keep possessed. we have amusement to magic you away. we have magic to mirror reality. we have reality to rush you in circles. to tire your legs. to tie up your legs. to get wheels on your feet. to get your feet replete with the dance, with the circle, with the need to get wheels on your feet. we have youth on wheels. we dance for tips. we tip for youth. we spin in circles to watch you spin in circles. so you’re always too dizzy to catch your feet. to catch your breath. to breathe.
we are a muss-puddle of new words, new feet, new tramplings. we find new ways to breathe in our own new rhythms. we find new breaths to breathe in between.
and words come to rest on my shoulders. and fireflies come to dance in the darkness. and spine comes to keep me upright.
Instead of having dinner with my father, I went swimming. Capsized my ribcage into a small boat and let my insides float through the water. I kept hoping something resembling calm would begin to reside in them once more. I kept trying to breathe, hoping the world would breathe back a little softer/a little sweeter. My body felt lighter in the water – just a piece of a current. Just a currently floating egg in a world doused in gravity. I kept swimming; the light kept dying. I felt summer curl its hands around my throat like a promise. I felt summer come swarming in like a fire. I kept swimming; the light kept dying. The sunset hurled its hands towards the stars – the fireflies shook out their dancing legs and wandered me alive.
You brought up brother Richard, I saw you choke a little on your intake of breath. I feigned disinterest/I said I hadn’t heard from him – it was true. The look in your eyes said the same. I wish I knew how to help you brother, I wish I knew where you were. I wish I knew how to bleed out our family blood. I wish I knew how to feel whole again. I wish a family was a pair of strong hands on your back.
I think about the swell of the summer singing towards me. I think about endings. I think about beginnings. I think about the reason I broke up with you. I think about honoring that reason. Holding it to the light and being loyal to it. I think about loyalty. I think about finality, the fierceness of the heart, the windchime of the rain. I think about running back to the forest, folding myself up in the trees, covering myself back up in bark. I think about writing, getting myself back into the flow. I think about all the things I need to write. I think about honesty. And fear. And how to fight bravely for fearlessness. How to walk towards honesty. How to be brave.
and words come to rest on my shoulders. and fireflies come to dance in the darkness. and heart comes to keep me fearless.
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start…And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
warm cotton heart, tucked inside my chest – i feed it well, keep it fearless and folded/a turn style/a watering can. the light – a presence; a singing bell of summer starting to chime. the way the dashes and hyphens of the branches keep tapping morse code to me. calling me out, calling me out, get out of your skin. carry your fear to the center of the forest and leave it there. bury it well, in desert ash and worm soil. let it go, let it go. the weight of worry that hums with you on a tuesday afternoon. let it go, let it always go drifting into this bask of light. this swelter of sunlight leaves. this canopy of harmony and hallowed wind. sacred is the day/sacred too – my heart. our little hearts that light the way like fireflies come out to dance in the darkness. our little hearts that light the way.
follow them. let them go. let them be. let them sing. let them swarm into the light. moths we are, little winged ephemerals. little things we are, just bursts of light. little hearts aflame in the dark. lighting the way are we, always lighting the way are we. always fighting the fear are we, always fighting the fear.
and winning, we are.
goldenfire hot rod light – pummel me, little photons. courage me out of my skin and let us glow, let us glow around this theatre – hunger voices parading about the stage, let my ribs catch the hollow echo of my own voice. let us wade deep into the light – let us wash clean the ghost voices that sit in the bricks. let us make our bones into magicians – little word wizards for an hour or two. hungry my heart, hungry my words/fire my cavern of a chest that cripples itself with ribs and cages – burned ash and tenderness. i keep loving the world, i keep loving the walls of a theatre, i keep loving the spin of a spiral staircase in a satin dress, i keep loving the swell of the sea that hunts me across a stage. the world is touching between my heart and the air i still have yet to breathe. the world is watching, i am waiting. waiting to explode again. i love breath, i love light, i love catching fire in my skin and racing it around in circles until the audience claps. i love this fire and i’m not ready for it to go out. even the embers, i think, will still keep my skin aglow. so let it burn, let it burn.