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.
rolling body, my body is a forged steelsmith from the plains of america. my heart is a wheel, i am a firetruck. you cannot always beat the monster, sometimes the monster beats you. and jamie curled himself into the fetal position in the middle of the airport and screamed over and over for me to help him breathe again. it felt like a panic attack. he was overwhelmed and overtired and hungry and jacked up and scared about traveling from here to there to there to there. and i lay on the ground with him in the chicago airport and tried to teach him how to breathe. he looked up at me, eyes all a river and tried to breathe with me. and tried and kept trying and kept looking at me for help. kept telling me verbally that he needed me to help him breathe. and he found his breath, and i held him and rocked him on the ground in the middle of the walkway until he came back up for air. until he found his breath again. and i think this is the only important thing i do with my life. and i think everything else is selfish nonsense, in the end – and this is the only important thing i can do. hold another being until they can find their breath again. teach my son about the waves and how to ride them. how to breathe through them. how its okay to feel. and hold him until he can find his breath again.
i am trying to be patient with myself, with my own journey towards finding patience with myself. i am trying to be kind to myself, to my body. i am trying to stay present and i am remembering, finally, what it is to take it all in. to breathe in the moment through your cells. to feel the moment on your whole body. to feel the rush and power of the ocean pummeling you. to feel a vista sweeping around you. to bow your head to the sunset. to take the five minutes to walk through the tree-lined path. to bramble through the roots. i am happy to be back home, to reconnect with my own rituals, my own processes that ground me and keep me sane. i am grateful for the summer night, for the buzz of the insect choir in the darkness. for the warm fluid air that fills and peels.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
never nothing always / calls me from my skin
rings me round my rosie – a pocket full of
folded napkins / wishes / tissues;
pat-a-cake corners and creases
goldrenrod afternoon and i am a curled toe on a blade of grass. june wanders in like a warm lagoon-fellow, i am a suitor. the summer sizes me up, asks me whether i am gentle enough to know it. i bask in the rays of something ponderous and hazy – gold-flecked and sun-beam twirled. there is light coming through the leaves – haven’t you heard? haven’t you seen their electricity on chlorophyll? haven’t you seen the tongues of roots – pulling towards – the sun, or the haze, or the courage of june to exist. like a small thumping heart under the ground – pulsing green fire into the sky. everything reaches – higher, hazier, dipped in fresh goldleaf. the meadow, walking towards me, knows nearly everything i do not know.
the fallen sun, hungering towards sleep, rests its solid colors on the horizon like a pillow, turns to tuck itself in, rolls about in its cotton sheets; its violet, pink and rose; its sunset wool grasping towards the evening like a lullaby in the sky. i sing heavy eyes – wild eyes – gold is gasping in my hair. sunset eyes now – dappled vision – song of bravery through the trees now. turning now, towards the approach of summer moonsong. it’s coming, it’s coming. summer moon is rising.