who owns the smell of the air on the last day of May

where do you go when the trees speak back and the sap seeps forward and the bridges and built and the bridges are built and the burned char of last year’s ashes have grown new poppies? and where is the light lingering and who owns the smell of the air on the last day of May and whose heart is ever ready for June or the bluster of a summer stinking towards you on the scent of the water — who forgives you and forgives you and who never can? how do you piece it together, and what is the peace for? i think about the end of the world all the time, nearly obsessively, nearly desperate for it / let us stop being afraid // let us keep creating, stop listening to the small voices, to the rage of rhythm not based in reality or reason /

i have difficulty telling children to do things i don’t believe they should have to do / i have difficulty procuring fake anger at a child because i’m supposed to as a teacher if i really think it’s just fine ; i think weening the wilderness out of humanity is one of the biggest things crippling us as a species ; i can’t do the things that we only do to keep humans in line, i can’t stay in the line, i hate the line, i have difficulty telling children to stay in the line — i can give them love, comfort, teaching, humor, explanation, patience, and discipline when i believe it, but there are so many things that i myself say fuck that too and i can’t understand why we tell our children to squeeze themselves through a series of jail bars and that they will find themselves on the other side “more whole” / i have so many questions, so many fine lines, so lack of respect for lines – but i trust my instincts, i really do, i have fine tuned my eyes and my senses and i have remained conscious in what i believe children need and don’t need – and i may be young but i really believe in my judgment — i need to flesh it out, flesh it all out, find the edges and grooves, learn how to talk about it coherently and specifically, and we need to stop desiring to turn wild beasts into mere line walkers – we need something in the middle

that’s my fucking motto isn’t it – something in the middle

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the greens deepen

mayfaire comes at the waldorf school and the blossom beads of twirling reeds come spinning through the children’s hair ; the light streams like a never ending resource ; the laughter grows in petals and in purpose – we all gasp at the beauty – the ribbons, the flowers, the aching imagery from some place where the world was whole ; we adults say out loud to each other – it’s like another time ;; I think perhaps maybe we can’t handle the exquisite horror of the modern world, the unendingly banal and mundane ; the vain and heartless bullshit of it all, we ache for something real, for something beautiful, so perhaps we escape reality (perhaps reality has escaped realness) has pushed off from shore ; I feel a kinship with these strange people ; with this band of people that cannot stand the way the world is ; that cannot cope ; sure, i cannot cope, i escape the world, i hide in worlds that make me forget, that make me imagine the world is something different than it is – But I have to – there’s no life out there for me in the real world ; I have to keep my mind full of real reality or it will slip so quickly into the unending tragedy of the world

No, I do not tire of the multitudinous of nature

I will always belong to the wide open blue


so many moments pass me by when i do not write about them ; they slip like ash and blossom, bloom and bud, and suddenly here the roses are blossoming like the world wants to be june already – may plundered the rain from the sky and baked the new green leaves, hurled the roots and curls of vines of tangled green limbs towards one another in rapture ; i sat watching the world wake up, i sat watching the greens deepen, i held baby’s hand as he learned and sang and laughed and slept, i followed a new moon towards a new play, i worked in the hard emotions, the difficult patience of listening and emoting

i follow the sun, i oxygen, follow every bud like a whisper, i tunnel myself through the mud, i find myself over and over again — old friends sitting around me like an undying circle , watching the places where people crease, where they bend, where they curl, how friendship moves through you like a rooted forest, like the cut branch, ash fire of a wilderness that knows how to grow back, it always knows how to grow back, how to sustain // some things get cut away; some things grow higher, get rooted more deeply, don’t need as much tending anymore, but grow on their own


rapture body, i agree to too many projects, i fill in my every minute with too many doings, i make my hands make too many things, i fill, i fill, i am rich of experience and makings and givings, but i rarely can feel the afternoon wrap around me, like a glove, i rarely can herald myself towards coherency, i rush muddle myself, i thorough time taker have not the time for finishing every open door, but i prioritize the mud, the hush of sunlight through the grass, through the wildflowers on the bank, i make time for the goslings to cross the path, for the iris to turn its face towards the horizon, i have to make time for the things that matter, otherwise my matter will forget that nothing really matters – i musn’t take anything too seriously, i must rise like a blade, swallow myself whole like a drop of morning dew into the canal, i must keep watering my garden, i must sit and listen, i must sit and listen, everything is speaking, tiny tongues, shrill voices, hungry songs of hungry leaves, drinking in chlorophyll and sunlight and the shadow of words no longer important to the things that remember how to live all the time, to the beings in silence that laugh at our everythinggrumble; our stubbornness to surrender  ; our inability to remember what matters and forget our own names ; the place where freedom is; the place where light echoes and music sees

oh, oh, i remember now, the place where taste touches and mind mirrors memory without strings, the place where fear dissolves, the place i am always ever going-am.

and here the heron

Gulp in the spring shine in like medicine it’s the only good pill there is ; drive with the windows down ; bike across the dirt path ; Hunger yourself towards the hollow of the sky ; the convex convolution of our reality ; the convention of complexly confusing the horizon for the edge , Let the world spin madly on

And here – this rust mud puddle of a river floating me down / And here, the swelling fingers and toes of the new green leaves still may-colored and honeysuckled / and here my eyes a new ocean / and here the hum of the river, the trill of a bird, the soft hummingbird song of a neighbor’s dog, and here the brash bravery of the flowers perching themselves along the bank, and here the heron, wide and ageless, powering his angling flaps low above the water

I’ll write myself into a disguise / you’ll know where i am / you can find me with your eyes closed

I spotted a Cardinal in the branches ; fire-organ, special, burrowed ; I could not catch him fast enough ;; of course, you already knew that, of course

The curvature of roots ; the ecstasy of blossoming ; the mindless dandelion of wish ; the violence of wind through the atmosphere; The deafening mix of warmth and breeze ; the rapture of daylight spreading ; the hurricane of waking up

the delirium of Sun

But have you seen 6 o’clock may light / do you know what my heart feels like when it thumps against the wind / Am I anything other than the Spring ; does anyone know anything real other than this jubilation ; than the delirium of Sun warmth and soil smell and what the world really is ; of what life really is :: and all the shadows surrendering from all the other surreptitious seasons ; all the false days fading in the may light / All the mayflies casting ringlets in the river / nothing else mattering but this, but matter moving and dancing :: dancing, you imbecile, the point of life to dance ; loving, you idiot, the point of life to love ; To live, goddammit, all the geese yelling at me to live // And the blossoms – each one more ingenious than the next // and sight: a fever to behold

green returning

First and foremost, there is the multitude of light, the branches of sky ceiling that stretch around like crashing bones; secondly, there is the rhythym of words that tuck behind your ear; thirdly there is courage, the firmament of flurried breaths which carry you from one day to the next ; fourthly there is the beckoning forth of the seeds to the light, to the might of leaves to the air, to the resonance of grass to the grace of green returning ; the grace of green returning

Ninthly there is twilight, like a milky sea of froth wishes tumbled out of cosmic memory

I see spring arranged about me like a pearl of courage cracking itself open ; i see a thousand beams of hungry light being themselves wishlesslessly

Yeah me? I’m still convinced I don’t deserve love

purple light washes

“in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)’

 

the perhaps hand of spring is peeling back the river from the banks, gushing the pearldropped tones of winter back to whence they came, pulling the supple colors of spring, slowly, slowly, from the banks / from the mud-luscious reptilian curtain of my brain

my brain, my brain is a hot-wire fire burner / a little teaspoon of volcano, a little trapdoor self-punisher, a little flowgarden out of flow or overflowing

the clouds are a river, the weather is a wild beast, my best attempts at wholeness are the smallest attempts at rain, the hope of the world is a funnel, i am a process


i am grateful again. for purple light washes, for red flares of guitars and foot-stomps, for friendship and laughter and laughter and laughter, for young people with the best intentions, wide open hearts and big talent to share; i am grateful for the sharing, for the stage, for the shift of blue lights blazing around my eyes. i am grateful for these people, for their honesty of love and vulnerability, for the ease of trust, for the song of purple summer

an absence in several places

i couldn’t stop staring at the tiles on the ground. the mosaic-ed black and white checks. my mom on speakerphone with my brother next to the bathrooms at the concert venue. thrum humbling and bum mumbling. i couldn’t pick my eyes up. she told me clearly and quickly that grandpa had died. 5 days before i was going out to see him. now the visit would be a memorial. my brother was right there with me. mama told us to sing and dance loudly at the concert. and then glen hansard walked onto the stage, nearly immediately. bryan said at least we’re at the right kind of concert for this. and i cried my way through his incredible music. the rafters hung on to smokey light, the ceiling fans danced rhythm above us. my navigator grandfather was navigating uncharted waters.

and i think about his life, the kind of life he lived. how unimaginably full his life was. navigating. flying planes. being in wars. working for the CIA. losing his wife at 28. writing a broadway musical and opening it on broadway. working on the apollo mission, drawing the maps to the moon. writing a book. living through the depression. buying a farm at 70 and becoming a cow farmer at that age. herding the cows around his missouri land all through his elder years. out in the cold, fixing the fence, eating his wheatgerm and almonds. unafraid and unstoppable. telling stories, sharp as a tack, witty as ever.


a few muted candles, a towering blue one, a bundle of rocks reminiscent of real ones – a thousand smatterings of light reminiscent of the real one – a trillion spinning ancestors reaching back and forth

we gathered in ohio. i felt the hunger of all the hearts around me, glistening like watered diamonds / we talked about anything other than what we were really there for / somehow the ones closest to him managed the most numerous smiles / cousin held my hand while we both cried, two sad little birds in a shallow pool of water, distracting and distracted / i felt grandma’s heaviness and her desire to not reveal it / i saw my mother fluttering with tiny silk wings / everyone was fragile; we somehow the most

my brothers and i (just two of my brothers, i mean) alone in the car, letting the song finish, refusing to open the door, no one drawing their gun first, no one willing to walk in yet, begging for someone to let us have some catharsis, to have some moment to process (they’re not talking about it, you see, they’re hurrying us along, you see, they’re saying we have to be upbeat, you see, we’re trying not to bring them down, you see) / so we all sit in silence, we all look straight ahead, we all cry silent tears, we all shake our heads when they ask if we’re ready to get out of the car, we all let the song finish // then we wipe our faces and go in smiling, like they want us to, we talk about other things, like they want us to, we don’t presume this weight is ours to carry, we let it slip amongst the clouds ; we do not know how to process, only how to light a candle, and how to blow it out

i feel the absence in several places in my body. oh, a new hole in my chest, goody. i feel the absence in the room, too, though no one would dare bring it up. my oldest brother, missing in action once again, this time, somehow truly incomprehensibly. my father, i didn’t expect to feel his absence here. but i feel strange that he doesn’t get to grieve. and lastly, of course, the resounding absence of grandfather himself. somehow wizened-eyed and smiling behind every hidden word. everything moves very fast, and somehow impossibly slow. i do not feel i have enough time to process, and yet i don’t know what else there is to say or do. i rage against my brother. i rage too, at the insensitive incomprehensible defense of his behavior. i rage at the misunderstanding (and that’s a kind interpretation). i have no more tolerance for this bullshit. none at all. i have forgiveness in my stores, but no more benefit of the doubt. we curse him behind closed doors, 3 siblings that once were 4. we hold close to each other, 3 siblings that once were 4. i revel in the intimacy of touch cousin gives me, the openness of tears. i am grateful for these. and for the humanness we shared with one another.

i think of his life, too and i can hardly find a reason for sorrow. full and deep and smart and vast. sharp, without fail. kind, without fail. always more than you could hope for. i light a candle, i blow it out. i rid myself of fear. i charge myself to live up to his grace. to fly as he once did, navigating in the dark, with a riddled paper map inside his hands. flying, soaring, navigating, charting, finding his way in the dark; fearless and full of light.


 


i collapse on the ground; i splint and saunter, i gather my bones onto crutches, i remember god staring at me with one eye in the waiting room, i remember god in the pain. i remember how god is always laughing. how we believe in mistakes. how small and foolish we all are. my eyes fill with tears when they describe to me how in what particular ways i will be immobile. how i will need help bathing, how i will go up the stairs on my butt. i am frustrated because i love inhabiting my body. using it and rolling about the world. because it is spring now, finally. because the golden curls of the little hairs of the sun stay dripping until nearly 8pm now and she will not wait for me to come play with her. because i cannot miss my appointment with the re-greening of the grass. because the daffodils long for my eyes to see them, because the crocuses are trying to kiss me, and i long to see the seedlings root as much as they long for me to press my skin to the sides of their homes. i am frustrated because i feel bad asking people to take care of me, because i will lose money taking off work, because i worked for months on this show and now i will not be able to do it. because my son deserves to be played with.


one of my most serious ex-boyfriends came out as a woman, and i don’t know how to process this. i don’t know what is not selfish. i feel like i’m not entitled to need to process it. but i do. i’m not sure what reality is, what a person is, what gender is, what memories are and at what point they become something different, or do they? because i had a relationship with a man who was obsessed with working out and having a masculine physique that wanted to marry me in a very conventional way. but she was a woman all along. are there terms for what it is i am feeling? i am sending her love and support, always. but privately, in my own little mind alone, i am trying to understand my own memories like a ghost in a song playing backwards. i know gender means nothing. and at the same time, clearly it does.


ash-white and linen bold, today the calhoun st bridge was covered in a thick 8am fog, like a wind-chime singing in all directions; like a spring breath puffing thickness like a virtue; like the green chipped paint on the old rusting metal was the only bridge between reality and the netherworld. we zoomed, slowly, through the curtain of obscurity, making a prayer to the springtime. bring all your wishes, moonclouds, bring all your dewdrops, i will take them, i will sit in your obscurity, in your april rain, in your dappled showers, i will take it all. i will cover myself in seedling mud and cotton stones of forgotten gardens. if this is what it takes to grow. if this is what it takes to grow.


 

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie the reason you were alive
But you’ll never know

a melting process

canyon of march, puddle beneath my feet, hamstring stretch of weather stretching over this chunk of land (it’s nameless; you named it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is nameless). hungry for spring; i am ravenous. hungry for a beating heart in my hand; i am cavernous. parched and patched like quilt-work sewn with sinew. word-work, i am always working – i am never getting very far. i am never getting far enough. love-work, i am always bleeding for it. i am always pleading for it.

wide-eyed vision scape, i am always seeping through the floorboards; gazing past the horizon line; sandwiching myself between sense and sand – glass, and the melting process to make it;; i am always a making process, a melting process, a process of processes processing themselves


 

the feeling that you’ll only love me if i stay far enough away ;;

i cannot reach for you, so i reach towards the silken emptiness of air; i write towards the absence; i lean into the absess; i let the abyss wrap itself around me

i gape at the stuttered splinter lights of trenton; i let winter gallop towards me, apace, a patter; all space a trance about me; always potential in practice, always waiting; always a character in a play in someones else’s timeline; always checking the glass door; always checking the time; always keeping memories like locked sapphires; like a fortune in an outdated currency; like a dowry /  i no longer care about leaving tracks

 

i can see your heartache right on your brow, i can see it

/ a thousand more poems about this; sure /

i try not to let it crack

rattle-roll, i hear the toll of every ticking branch, seemingly seeming to see the end of the season swimming towards us – swallowtail, i swallow the sun in gulps and grants – i grant myself fervor and hot-footed breaths

candlemas, and the turning of the earth towards the light – light, and the turning of the ash to soil once more – and the planting, the thought of the thought of the thought before the seed

a thousand New Year’s days please – the courage of beginning again – the raw heart of a new beginning a thousand times over – in a row, lined like ducks perched everlasting, please – your heart, please, draped next to mine in the cold winter’s night, please – wrapped in a body, a little flesh fragment – a little capsule for a wilderness within 

and you too, your memories reek like rotted seasons cracked at the bark – your skin beginning to crack too, and me, and my memories beginning to crack too – your scratchy, distant face, the way my caterpillar of a heart cocoons itself when it flashes to memory – no longer mine, no longer yours, the frozen thumping of a blazing hot season of youth traipsed over my eyes – forever young, forever frozen in the heat, forever wild, a creature of agelessness / it isn’t that i feel old – it’s that the curvature of time takes you away from me, moves the strange temperature of your soul from a dark blue to a hue i cannot recognize, am not supposed to know how to recognize ; the distance both a time and space – a relativity of distance longer than a word can be described ; a perpetual dying, a perpetual freezing

I find myself literally dreaming about the spring during this season, the goosefeet of mid-march drumming through the rain, the cotton wind of the clouds currying over the hillside, the mist of a meadow that sits somewhere between reality and me – and myself, the virulence of my body allowed to breathe, no longer strapped into sinews of cotton and corduroy – i dream about my flesh touching the wind again, the sunlight touching my hair again, my feet able to run into morning dew, my eyes able to open to the splays of green and yellow – i dream, i dream, i sleep, i hibernate my heart, i try not to let it crack in the freeze, in the ice-sheets blanketing mud, i try to keep it balmed / i try not to let it crack

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.