pittsburgh, pa

hollowed city shell, laced with anthracite powder ; the coal sucked out of the ravines and side-stepped hills – heralding houses on houses; pulled, like molten ghosts – steel rapture , wrapping the rivers in a rolling fixation with the resemblance of reliability — this city pulled itself out of the hillsides with tools and black treasure, fumbled its way onto the landscape with sweat and sidelong glances into the future (that slowly but surely peeled away from it) ; rocket teeth, the brick and mortar make-shift rubber-wired splinter cell of this growth of steel and cement curls towards the new century, abandons its skeletons of iron and forge and builds shopping malls and sidewalks – i try to pronounce the native american name of this river in my head like a mantra, try to press that reality back into my consciousness / to honor the way the water ran before it was filled with soot and ash / i imagine , in some part of my brain that works beyond language , the names these hills once held, before they were marked and numbered for the black artificial gold within them ;; the energy it took to pull our country into the modern wasteland — the energy we squealed out of the earth ; the price we paid to lose our own magic \\ and this friday too, singed black on the edges , filled violently with the rage of consumerism bolting ; like the reanimated zombie energy of our black coal hands lighting into the night ;; let the night turn black again – released, gently, momentarily, into the golden endless light of stars laughing at us

like a dream of a static universe

I am chasing this little pink flash across the sky , on this, what is almost certainly a winter sunset now ; I am tracing the outline of the bare branches in the reflection on the water and trying to find the places where I went wrong / where I cracked in the growing outwards of my branches / I’m trying to learn / I am gazing up at what is a quickly darkening haze of hues and trying to place myself inside of my own world / trying to reach towards how to know what it is I need to know at any given moment ; on my long confusing journey towards this endless horizon we can never reach ; that is always just dipping beyond the edge of visible sight ; that is always just meeting the night where the day ends , somehow effortlessly at a fixed point in our vision ; like a dream of a static universe we are never actually standing in ; in a dream, as if time is one small step in front of the other ; and not an endless circling ; and not an endless expansion ; as if the trees are not rooting in deeper and reaching out higher – always for more light, more strength – never a fixed point in the soil, but an endless connection of bones and bloodlines ; like vertebrae through the happenstance little bundle of cosmic rock we happened to bumble out of // Hello sky ; hello to the endless calling out to the sky ; waiting for it to circle back around again

edge of the forest path, 12 years old

How the years have pulled me like a sideways cloud; drifting penniless through the aching twirl of new autumns gone by; how, when I was 12, I pressed my fresh footed boots into this soil ; cut my heart on the sides of tree branches ; placed promises to what I would be into the mud ; how we walked, we laughed, we gasped at the feelings that arose in our body like new strangers come to rest inside of us ; How we prayed for love like tattoos on our flesh ; wondering how free we’d get to be when we were no longer 13 ; stuck in the middle of a flesh hurricane ; a puberty pressure pressing us into the sidewalk like daisy chains into cement / a love letter written with mascara on a pillar of marble / How many times I walked down this path pressing some name onto my lips like a ritual ; an obsession with setting myself away from the line of squares that lined up geometrically ; and when the bell rang. how I filled my pockets with acorns; or laid in the dirt under the stars and giggled until I knew how to giggle in a way that was socially appropriate ; how I learned to tuck my hair behind my ear ; pull a ribbon into it ; check my makeup in the mirror ; how I learned to girl, to woman, to grow and to shrink; how we best friended down the woodland path ; how our lives stretched out in 1,000 different directions: my friends, my friends ; and what I didn’t know ; what I didn’t know ; how to recognize the sound of the wind; the sound of my child’s laughter; the sound of my heart beating against the waves of some distant shore // When holy meant the edge of the forest path because the forest was unwalked; unknown; or if I had walked it – the small space it covered in this small town was a wild mystery large enough in itself to span several countries in the imagination ;; when sacred was the tiny comfort of being seen by two small eyes on a lonely big world not big enough for me yet

when the sun comes back around

And now the first hardness forms; the crinkle paper tissue firmament on the water – The cracking of the first ice cooling together at the end of this autumn / the slashes in the shapes that form like broken stars ebbing towards one another / and here the leaves still hold their gold : the sun still flecks through the quickly chilling air ; but my hands quiver and my foolish heart knows not one ray of light from the other ; but still hunts for endless summer, still begs for the day to rise longer, truer ;; this growth is like an up-ended backbend ; it doesn’t feel like growth at all ; feels like cutting off limbs and letting them sink into the ice tipped water / strength is something I am told to have / love is something I will never not feel in every cell of my body like some endless curse I am always walking in / the ground is covered in gold too – now the fallen just resting in puddles – everything that was created this year resting now silently on the ground – about to molt together into one another in the icy blush of burrowing away into the old soil and the new; to be reborn again when the sun comes back around ; when the sun comes back around ;;

and me I twist my soul to the sky – try to air it out – try to let it fly again ; and me I resemble this soft pale November cloud ; I float, grazing the atmosphere, touching blue, I do not belong in this sky / and here just the crunchy tips of the water fold their hands together, Make solid what was once liquid ; but still, it is liquid just underneath the fine filament of hardness that is crusting on the top – the hardness that is making star shapes splinter across what used to flow in the wind; and remains now still ;  silent ;

not enough frenzy

Thunderclap and lightning vow; the final bow of the faded glory season; sings its silent leaf falling song; fills up the still water with reflections of leaves gone by; now gathering like apples bobbing, gathering in clumps; entropy and wishbone cloud formations; fumbling together like friends at the top of the water; like a rainbow of lily pads leaning towards the russet hues; and here the hollows – The ghosts are nothing more than laughs on the ripples; we sit watching the season grasp towards the light; we cackle towards the horror; the perversion of what is so obviously benign and beautiful; the forest displayed in hungry colors; not a death march, but a celebration of release / This cacophony of creation at its final interpretation; nothing scary about it , this world of branches and brambles and the way fog floats through the forest under the October moon ; nothing scary about it , the way we hold our hearts like half-remembered song lines; drilled out of the earth; like so many pipelines fracking for something real; for the freedom to pipe our fresh songlines back into our lungs ; so many ancestors forgotten ; like so many traditions pushed down the river in a basket , dumping out to the polluted Hudson , fumbling towards the endless plastics of the ocean / bones rattle in the branches ; old ancestor disappointment – at how we forget everything, fear everything, pervade our corrosion of disconnection into a paradigm of gore and gush;

This family of ducks weaves their way between the new terrain; the freshly assembled families of leaves in their water; as more fall around them gently, gently, gracefully, gracefully

I will never stop being disappointed in our society; in how we peel away from the precious; how we skitter away from the sacred; and coerce every sleeping promise of connection towards the hacked up reverie of some feverish frenzy towards the frantic ferocity of fear;; too much fear, not enough frenzy