a staggering compilation

but do you feel stimulated and does the warm air wrap itself around your ankles and whip at your neckflesh and do men hold your face in their hands with tenderness and does the wild eye of the sky keep pouring hot rain onto the pavement? happiness is trite. the world is full of color and turquoise magic – horror terror and crimson hue/blood sad and wet faced worry – do not appeal yourself to the simplicities of what contemporary modern life says is the way to measure your life. you are a staggering compilation of dissonant cells and atomized neutrons and you are a fantastic imagining of clay still fresh and unglazed and you are a parcel of bones strung together and you are a finely laid arrangement of electricity. and do you hear the insect choir on a summer afternoon and does the highway extend out beneath your feet as you fly along and do you have a brain full of drummed thoughts tapping hot and measureless? you are, you are, you are doing just fine. you are doing straight black magic just breathing earth oxygen potion. you are doing just fine. you are everything you need to be at all infinite points on a compass. you are always on the path you are on and that path is always unfolding the only way it knows how to – domino, domino, domino, stange mystery of labor twirling outward – you are always a thousand ways that your cells are not dissolving. you are still held together with invisible electron glue. little gravity sorcery. you are still a phantasm/a creation creating. you are doing just fine. you are a miraculous breathbag heaving. still, still. do not worry about happiness, or silly rulers the world tells you you must measure yourself against. you are a magnificence of electro-magnetism. the world is not spinning you apart just yet. the laws of physics are still alive in you just yet. you are still breathing just yet. you are still filled with hydrogen possibility just yet. you are still a miracle just yet. you are a human being just yet and you are strange and aflame and you are brave for still breathing. for rising to meet the day. you are enough. you are doing just fine. if you are feeling a myriad of things, you are lucky. if you are feeling anything at all, you are lucky. if you know not one thing for certain, you are wise. you are doing just fine. you are doing cataclysmic, majestic things each day. like breathing. like existing. like being.

you are doing just fine. You are alive; you are making magic.

minneapolis, minnesota

and sparkle-dragon golden teeth will fall out of your hair. folded origami feathers will float off of your shoes. wedding bells like shark jaws will dream into the air. hungry industrial rubble and the shine of glowing light will fling your heart through space. and you will be grace, and you will be grace.

beauty girl, happy wedding day.

and city unfolding under my feet like ashen white pine-breath and honey-lipped oxygen air. clean city, old city, fresh city, new city, aware city. bold, art-filled, humming with its own tune. minneapolis has nothing to prove and yet bubbles with a culture 5 miles wide and 10,000 lakes deep. under-rated city of air and water and flickering lights and dazzling peace. brave city/keeps ticking on, keeps making beautiful things in the middle of the country/does not care if the rest of the world looks or not/ gathers up a fist-full of native dirt, washes it clean in the mississippi river, grits new streets through its mouth, pummels up fresh opportunity – lets the middle-class silt like nuggets of gold on top of the strain. lets the shadow soil filter, filter. lets minnesota become a new name, a state drenched in something free and present and still alive. minneapolis is alive, it fills to its own brim with its own sense of identity – which is not pursed like lips, definitive and narrow, it is its own creature howling, moving, tunneling. it is a brave pair of cities alive with themselves, their own unfinished project.

/and aren’t we always our own unfinished project?

golden valleys/golden seas

hills of the valley, take my brittle hands and sand them clean – tip the edges of my water to the shore – let me be a tongued wave again. whirling away, whipping away, turning free the roots and brambles of my fears and shadows. let me be the best of myself – let me work towards cultivating the fire bright enough to light up my own cave. show me the shadows, show me the mountain, show me the valley. show me the road, let me keep wandering it. tell me, bones of the earth, are we the hungry mountainside, are we deepening caverns of a cliff-face falling into the sea?

san Diego, we pull through your valleys. we channel over your inlets – the water, the sea, the gravity of the Pacific. the elegance of your rapture wraps up the coastline, tucks Tijuana in for an afternoon nap, soaks California in golden sunshine hum. just humming – sea breeze and cooled blue haze, you do not shout/you swirl, the tipjar of time chimes/bold waves keep racing towards themselves; self-reflecting, self-refracting, self-soothing. you tuck yourself in at night, hungry hallows of san diego – you are self-sufficient. you are the patient silence of the california coast/the whisper of golden mountains and cliff-faced vistas echoing back to the moon like a promise of what life is supposed to be. and the people honor that promise – they honor the gift – they get out and use the magic/they soak up the gold in the air, in the sun, in the streets.

i am endlessly grateful. for the blue turquoise at the edge of the sea/for the curling edges of the coastline that open at your feet/for the hungry valleys of california that stretch out on all sides with wistful, brave flower dottings. for the thrumming song of my little boys joy – splayed out in singsong corridors and billow shake dances. little bent tree dancing. i am grateful for cousin, for brother, for laughter. for strange, unfolding journeys that keep taking me places somewhere i never expected to be/with the wind at my back and the gold of the earth shaking its dust out and dancing.

rockface

But the aching crags that pummeled under my feet – the harkened breath sumptuous in my chest – the curled chill of mountain air twirling my skin – the firmness of step, the grasp of leap, the stumble of jump, the voracity of adventure in your heels, the the quake of your muscles as you lean in to a new footing, as you lean in to a new trust – in yourself, in the rock, in the flow. And the physicalized ritual of confronting, greeting, being with bravery. Testing your own limits, literally challenging yourself, genuinely finding where bravery sits inside your bones and harvesting it. This is invaluable. This is a rockface. This is climbing it. This is coming in to your own strength again.

 

And I say thank you, thank you, thank you again. Thank you mountainscape, thank you stunning sunset that happens everyday – that I miss so many days. Thank you for the opportunity to see it again today. The cataclysm of the sunset happens everyday. It is us, who forget to take notice. It is us, who forget to find the magic, to witness it, to thank it, to receive the majesty all around. Cupped hands, cupped hands, we forget to cup our hands, and receive what is always directly in front of us/behind us/surrounding us. Air, air, and magical mystery.

the 1st of august

i’ve got all of the above inside. i am what i am what i am. my own wounds and insecurities placed just above the ribcage. they sing when they are jostled. i try to play dumb, to slice off my cancer. but hey, if this is your heart in your hands, this is mine too. this is my fear, my insecurity, my bundle of complexes. here, here it is, will you hold it in your hands? i am trying to do the things i said i was going to do when i broke up with ceilidh. i told him i needed to come in to myself, to know myself as a single person, as a person unreliant on another. i need to know my own rhythm, to go slowly, to hold space.

let go, let go, let go. keep trying to find your own rhythms. your own life held in your hands. try to hold your own heart. learn how to hold it, how it feels, what it needs. see if you can give it what it needs.
and i think about you girl, my angel. this day, 8 years ago. your life, your light. the prettiest girl in the world. you were joy, and you are love. you give me bravery, when i am scared. i think about you, what you would have done, and then i fucking do it. i leap in to the cold water. you were bravery and beauty and love and all things bright and worth living for. you are always and forever. keep blowing in the wind, dear, keep crashing in the waves. i’ll keep trying to dive in, to be brave and alive and fearless for you.

the time

words come hurtling from the atmosphere all around me, buzzing at my head like little summer wasps…but i have not had the time. i have not had a moment. i have not had the time to sit and set the past few days process through me.  i have not had time to write about jamie’s birthday – the way friendship whistled through the trees in the backyard, giggling and slipping in a puddle of hazy water droplets. i have not had time to write about spring awakening – the dreamlit way the violet and auburn lights pummel into my flesh, pour through me like searchlights. the way the violin and cello curdle my heart into something golden/winged/heated. i have not had time to write about adventures in Delaware, the way a barrage of Andrew Wyeth’s plastered themselves onto my skin, tempura painted into my eyeballs, my cerebrum, the way those paintings made me remember how my soul feels when it is rattling about inside my ribcage. the way Spring Awakening made me remember how my soul feels when it is a pool of purple light expanding in my chest. i have not had time to write about Jamie’s graceful growth – speaking with veracity and a personality that is beginning to braid out of fingers. i have not had time to write about how grateful i am for this new show – new words, new rhythms. i have not had time to write about how it felt to hold my book of poems in my hands. i am grateful for my life, for my words. i am grateful to be busy, i am grateful to wallow in the light. i am grateful for the summer dive, the slinking push into the pool, the sunburned window into friendship, the curled pages of possibility, the hungry piece of the world still aching inside of me. i am grateful that i get to see my grandfather in a few weeks, that we all are strong and fragile at the same time. i am grateful to be with my boy, the strongest light in my heart. i am grateful for Spring Awakening, and the open strummed guitar chord that breaks my heart in two and lets everything inside fly out into the shadows and light. i am grateful for the reverberations of sound through a theatre – the echoes of meaningful words spoken beautifully and with grace. i am grateful for ritual, for the ghost light, for the inspiration of bogad, people that care about beautiful things, and the ability to be a part of making something beautiful. i am grateful for beauty – true beauty – the kind of beauty that breaks your heart open and lets your chest feel the terror and majesty of the open air.

a thrilling mound

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.

maps to the moon

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.

purple summer

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.

story/magic/world

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
dream-works weaving


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.

own it.