new orleans, louisianna

new orleans sinking like a bottomless note to the edge of the country – dipping its toes in the Mississippi, shaking off the excess for always ; friendship in the dazzled sunshine and street walks to vegan grits, jambalaya, liquor and coffee / the race and rush of bourbon street a song in my ear – the humbled splay of beads dancing out of every canopy , the flush appearance of grass and swaying pines ; of jungle leaves and dappled pastel houses like paintings pulling themselves out of the sidewalk // paint dripped on every corner, hushed lullabies of haunted windowscapes — voodoo wish words passed down through the ages — funneled in to some big brass instrument and swinging out for every jazz jingle that hunts its way down the bayou / yoga on the back porch in the sway of january breeze, gumbo and quiplash and air bnb wine and the dungeon and the bounce frenchman street ; of walgreens and CVS and stripper’s eyes – the mundane made magnificent, the glamour of a sunday afternoon paled in the french quarter and baked in something past cultural significance — the city swinging like a note or two out of place from the rest of the country ; held, like a wish star floating ; suspended by the billow of music within

nashville, tn

Nashville rotary, motor, hull-mumble guitar pick-stumble — rattle shack cold and flecks of Tennessee snow through the slits in the neon lights — the river pulling up to bridge light, now ancient swing pulling the future towards the endless sound of music,, now the music pulling is towards the endless sound of the south pointing north by northwest ; now a sequence of hipster gold leafed, fine calligraphy, bulbed, flecked, rusted wood ornamentation – now floating , now rushing , now playing an old song through a new bedazzled vision – crushed red brick and the manufacture of sound, a commodity sandwiched between magic and craft beer — now the reverberation of applause stretches it’s tinny sound towards the reflection of the sky ; turned butter grey with January smile,, now I hunker towards the isolation of freedom – i grasp it with both hands – and pull. And listen

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

upstate ny

Upstate;; and the air turns crisp and crinkled at the edges; the hills turn green on their backs – roll over to the blue side – tumble through the cascading hillsides ;; we race the road to where the yellow line meets the side of the endless fog racing down the mountainside // Vermont air mapled and sunning itself on the backside of what is already fall ;; laughter echoes in the alleyway/  love shines on the dashboard / the twist of romance pulls moments out of the sky // fistfuls of hands pulling air out of the sky ; pulling air out of the rustic barn – steel rusting on the side  // the towns that sprinkle themselves out like so much confetti on the twisting roadway / the quaintest sites you’ll ever see ; and the mist gathering around the endless endless boughs of tree trunks and pine needles fresh pressing in to the fistfuls of air // Woodstock splattered like a paint can ; humbled like a reverie;;  a little utopian world sitting on the precipice of a mountaintop ; the brightly-coloured remnants of the Peace we all parceled out for one another – the peace we traded in for shiny things and plastic things and garbled rings and fumbled rhymes of another time for the aesthetic of retro or vintage that we want cling to for the peace we need ;; for the piece of the peace between our fingers – we find it again ; always  ;always in the echo of the fistful of air today , swirling , who is cascading the hills through this fog? lifts , drifting , drifting apprentice , painting its own melodies across the hillsides :: across the hillsides, the fog lifts me and I let it

phoenix, az

sunrise over phoenix, and the world is quiet, the mountains stand at the ready – piercing the new day, bubbling like magma bones and fleshy cellulite strained into the air — the dirt is thick purple, the heat stiffles at every time of day – the air trembles with the murmur of the new day — these ancient piles, these magic wishbones of earth — i see you, i see you

and the news / the bruises, the endless aching heart of tragedy,, how dare we betray our lives with violence? how dare the world spin endlessly in this heartbreak – where is anything but senselessness?

the resting place of the air

i, savage rapture of my insides pulling against one another — i reach towards the sun, the sun pearls her little eyelashes back at me ;; i raid my memory for all the sweetest bits, the sticky glue to piece myself back together — i peel through every word and imagine it without you, my heart breaks at every small suture; i pull myself apart, i weave myself back together again

I, grown – feel my little life spinning again, feel like my heart has powers i’ve always waited to grow in to – i feel a silent blue light, a permanence of confidence, an unshakeable serenity — i feel i have all the time in the world, little youth bird, little capturer of light and words — i feel the resting place of the air – filled with words and wishes, i know how deeply i need the air and i know not why the universe spins this compass, peels me into the strange directions — i feel the universe in my every thought, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, i am trusting, or trying to, i am resisting, or trying to, i am releasing, or trying to

I love him terribly, terribly // my eyes fill with tears, i love him terribly

Strength is not devoid of pain, of attachment, of fear // love, an endless everything

I cannot loose myself from your sweetest caress, your confident affirmations, your presence and your care, the shelter of your body, your radiant joy, the peals of laughter, the courage and comfort – i love you terribly  

 

We are messy bundles of mistakes we humans, we try and try again, we fail, we grow, we learn, we shape, we fail again, we roll downhill and pick up steam and turn into a better self, if we’re lucky. I want to be a better self, no matter how many times i feel i am cooked – no one is ever cooked, no one is ever anything more than a spinning ball — it helps when i fail // i need to remember to remember to let go endlessly, to need less, to love more freely, with patience and forgiveness for myself, and patience and forgiveness for others — not to never mess up, but to always apologize and learn, always be reaching towards my higher self, even though oftentimes the growth spins round in circles, knocks you off and peels you back up again – the path is not linear, growth is not easy, failing is normal, trying again is brave

key west, florida

The landforms carve out of the ocean like a ribbon of dotted wishes along the coast. The keys play out of tune and in all the right places. The keys peel off from their country like a beautiful array of fuck yous – a tidy sum of rainbows distancing themselves from the madness of the motherland. The everlasting wind blows taffy hair all about the island – purpled and pinked pops of truffula flowers announcing themselves on the street corners. The wild roosters knowing no bounds. the freedom of the island is implicit – it sinks into the smoke-filled bars, bras and dollar bills affixed haphazardly to the ceiling and walls like a wayward bridge to the endless horizon. Something sacred hangs in the sub-tropical abandon ; in the hard liquor and white, angling 2nd story porches. the pastel creams and lilac shutters flutter in the wind like a wild, peaceful fever ;; the coral bones and chunks of sunken ship debris ; a rebel patch of land floating away from its rebel of a country ;; the half spun dream melody of a twisting madness or a bobbing wonderland

the mythology of treasure, of great men writing in rowdy dive bars, of mermaids and horror stories ; of key lime sweetness and rainbow revelry ;

austin, texas

the words are not what you’d think perhaps ;;

the wind rattles down the texas highway, past the blue bonnets and the highway long grass and the low-laying live oaks stubbling just past head height. the light filters through the shy little spear-leaves and shelters the cobbled grass stragglers at our feet. everything feels the lack of water. everything edges towards and away from the heat.

but the city – is it liquid; flexible; gathered at the edges and perking up at the center — it is rich, local, flavorful, pungent, spiced, metropolized, conscious-eyed and sprawling with creation. the city it is a galvanized portal to seven new realms and 3 recycled ones. the city is a map unfolded in ten hues of gold leaf, ash, soot and metal — patina and reckless abandon — to turn the rust of the south into a subterfuge for society and counter-culture

and me, i feel the sunshine on my skin for the first time in months – i forget it’s blaze and fire-tongue. i forget the way light shines through colors like platinum and endless power. i curl into cousin connection – into the courageous forever of a lifelong friendship // into comfort and endless discovery // i pound my feet into pavement and walk until my feet find my body at the end of the hours – peeling back towards the darkness of twilight gathering on empty branches and i fold my legs inwards towards the comfort of emlyn’s little house rattling in the wind. the wind rattling down bennet and 46th — keeping austin just how you’d think, perhaps — strange, unique, and all to its own, a lone star amongst a thousand others never quite like it in the night sky

eastward bound

swirl hands/river heart/dig me out of the sea/see me not willing to see myself

we flew through the landscape, fields fragrant and flying by, cities popping out of the hillsides like hungry, electric beasts. dayton swirled around us in a puddle of newness, fake plaster walls and flat, pastured fields. my grandpa sat like a king in his recliner. eyes piercing blue and stories tumbling out of his mouth like a last reprieve. he seemed wild for life, ready for release, longing to stay all at the same time. medicine churning through his blood like fire. i tried to hold his eyes, to stay his hands, to rest inside his brow, release the tension in his forehead. he seemed mountainous, rubied, wise-eyed and well-lived. i was grateful for the moment.

we sailed on, prowling towards pittsburgh. dancing in the grass in the suburbs – hurling around with cousin sprites and backyard bubbling stream. the sandbox and my feet met like wonder-strangers. the city pulls steel out of its spine, hacks at the hillsides for fertile land and pulls every spare root from the crumble of mines gone by. the city curls around the water/the water spins around the iron/the metals hide themselves away – tucked into the earth – prayed into a hiding spot – sucked like miner’s teeth into the open air. they gutter, they sprawl – the hillsides house a thousand lives still marching. warm, working people filled with stories in their own tongues. full of white teeth, shined gleaming by the modern age. the city too, breathes simpler now, shined gleaming by the modern age. the teeth of the hillsides still rattle, though/ ragged breath from mines still dirge-ing in the dirt.

home now and the world twirls about me in a canopy above my head – river road snakes and i funnel down the delaware, light bright in my hair and black coffee singing out of the speakers. i feel lucky to live where i live; to be happy to be home; i have not had a home that i feel that way about…hardly ever. i always had a hard time coming home to kingston. but the trees sing around me with their lush heads and the canal barrels on with thick, clay soil and little streams of water trickle through my toes. the world keeps opening, and the winds keep changing. the chill comes to walk with me in the morning again – but i am not afraid this year. i am huddling with my boy in a nest made of open air and leafy greens and i am afloat. i am a boundless wind, and i change too. i am willing to change. and i am not afraid of fucking anything.

branson, missouri

streaks of pale blue sunset gobble up the rest of the horizon / Table Rock Lake hurls itself around in dream or wonder. my mother played here as a girl, skipping rocks with her grandparents / now the thrill of wild cloud shapes still satisfy the eye. Silver Dollar City splays out like an accordian – banjo fingered inlets and hills dressed in 1880’s finery – swelling to the brim with nostalgia and creation -praying to the past without repent. roller coasters swim in imagined narrative – the pearl of the wild west, of the hillbilly freedom of Ozark mischief murmurs in the mountains, in kitsch shops, in theatrics. we tell ourselves the story of the past, of the wild west, of the way the wilderness harnessed something, the way cowboys grabbed the rocks by the hand and shook them in their fists until america popped out of the stork. but what a tiny sliver of time – and how much time were these lands native lands. filled with a culture beyond hillbilly, beyond rapscallion, beyond outlaw. what do these hills know, what do we let them know, what narrative do we keep clinging to – in a small pocket of history, in a dark and stormy closet of our hearts, of our collective american narrative. the dark, toothless and ignorant outlaw – we keep clinging to this. we keep finding reasons to call ourselves home in this image. and still, too, Table Rock Lake whispers its own journey, sings its own ancient melodies. and still, too, rainbow trout swim in sea grasses, the sky meets the horizon at the breaking place – glows glitter and wildfire, does not adhere to the simple corners of our imagined narratives. rough edged rocks and bark-tongued tree spines – the mountains rise up with their own story. tectonic plates and spring-sourced-water-flows, ancient ridges and eyes rising to the sky. for the violet kiss of the sun on the horizon each night. and we do not own this land. and this land has a secret story all of its own. and our pitter-patter narratives fall like silver rain, and we keep imagining. and we keep dreaming, and clinging to the past that keeps passing us by. and we keep watching the sunset, and we keep imagining it is for us, and not for the lake itself. and we keep writing stories, and imagining we are the only ones with interesting things to say.