he found his breath

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.

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.

and glow little fire, and burn fast in the shadows of my heart.

i feel sad. profoundly sad in a way i didn’t expect to. i feel touched in a way i didn’t expect to. i pummeled my heart onto the stage in a way i didn’t expect to and was unbelievably grateful to the way my castmates pounded their souls into the floorboards. the way they all gave it their all. left it all out there. sang their hearts out and pounded the ground with rage and sorrow and beauty. it was a magic coming-together of a thousand moving pieces. and it came together. and it took everything i had from me. a great chunk out of my heart and gave me back sevenfold in spirit and fire and spark. it opened my ribcage and let a tidal wave of light pool out of my chest in blues and violets and reds. it filled the shadows, it stung the lights. it is everything theatre should be – vital and real and harrowing and thick and inspiring and poetry and pounding and violins and cellos and blood and sweat and tears and honesty and touch and tenderness and meaning. meaningful words, meaningful chords, meaningful darkness. fire and grace. i am thankful. i am thankful for purple summer, for commitment, for creation, for being inspired. i am thankful for the rituals. for bogad’s words, for bogad’s direction. i am thankful for the starlight sparks of stage lights bouncing through your body, hiding in my skeleton, shadowing up my spine, curling my soul out of my mouth. i am grateful for the music, sliding around my skin, cupping my hands in movement. i am grateful for the joy, for the cast, for their passion, their power, their endless talent. i am grateful to be in something serious, with people taking it seriously, that is seriously effecting people. that rises audience members out of their seats. i am grateful for every single time my castmates hit it hard, grit their teeth and poured out venom. for the gaping, open wounds they laid bare. for the ribcages they spread wide to let everyone see in. i am grateful for the vulnerability, the trust, the strength, the sadness, the joy, the laughter, the creation. i am grateful, and i will let this blue wind blow through me, and try to grasp the gratitude as it whistles through the lonely wind; the long blue shadows falling.

i am grateful that this show exists. for the profundity and poetry of this show. and that that it was accessible enough, meaningful enough and beautiful enough that it caught fire. that people at large could sink their teeth into something deep. that something profound and deep could be beautiful enough and good enough and touching enough that it gained mass appeal. that story matters to me. the little poetic engine of a meaningful piece-of-art of a show that hit it big and captured a generation’s hearts. that something that was dark and profound and real and poetic could speak to so many people, could bridge the gap between popularity and real magnificent art – that has always been an incredibly inspiring story. one that grabbed me by the throat and dragged me through high school. on fire for something meaningful that was so fucking good that it reinvigorated an appetite for real art. that spring awakening ever became popular, that it won the tony and changed a generation – that is one of the most satisfying stories of my life. people have the capacity to engage with meaningful, poetic, artistic craft. people have the heart for it, and people reach out when you reach towards them. that is the deepest truth that set my heart ablaze when i was 16 watching the forest fire catch. people get it, people get it. if you give them profundity and beauty, they will consume it. they have the appetite. you just have to be brave, and punch your chest to let the demons out, curl them into song, and sing them straight out of your soul. sing it out. sing the song of purple summer. and people will hear it. and people will get it. and if you reach out, people will reach back.

and we can all be better than this. richer, deeper, thicker, more connected, more engaged. and spring awakening reminds me of that. people get it. at their core – people all get it. people are so much more full than we let them be. so be brave. make art that strums that chord. that splays out the soul. that sings to the core. that fights for the fire, the light, the shadows and all the starlight in between. do that. it’s the only good fight there is.

and all shall know the wonder.

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.

i promise to honor you

and when the moment comes, you’ll know it.

and the moment came. and I gave Jamie his last milk tonight. and i felt so fucking proud of myself. for breastfeeding him for 3 years straight. for giving it my all. for giving him everything. my body, my life, my time, my strength. and i felt sad. no, sad is not the word. simply overtaken. with the momentousness of raising a child in your hands. of holding him with patience until he is able to hold himself. in being able to give that to someone. in the gratitude i have that the best person i know in the world is my son. that i get to lie with him on the bed and look at his sleeping face and see this person that has come into the world. this fucking amazing human being. that will one day be a man of his own. that is already growing in to a boy of his own.

i promise to honor you. to stand by you. to try my best to give you my best. to remember you in innocence and know your truest heart. to keep my promises. to talk honestly and with patience. to be patient with you. to let the moments of your life unfold and to try to give you the foundation to be fearless. to be wide-eyed and full of light. the way you have been every single day of your life since you came in to my arms three years ago.

the moment came, and it was on a sun-dappled afternoon in july. it was warm breeze through the open summer window, it was 7-o-clock golden light dancing through the pane. it was the month you came tumbling in to this world. i finally pulled myself from your longing mouth. i saw how my body had grown yours, first inside of my skin, then outside. i saw how strong and true and beautiful you had grown. i let you lay there on the pillow next to me, blissful and dreaming. i let myself cry a few tears. i knew i had done well for you. i knew you were strong. and i knew i was strong, for walking the strange and lonely path i have to this moment. i cried because of the incredible journey we took to this moment. i cried because the moment was beautiful, because the moment was sad, because the moment was bittersweet. i cried because you were so beautiful lying there on the pillow. i cried because the moment was ending – because you are growing up – because i was able to pinpoint this moment along a constellation of moments that are before and in front – and that the train is going to keep barrelling – faster now, with your own stride and your own wings about to catch up with your body. and soon you will learn to flutter, to flap, to fly. and i will be floating here – frozen – on a bed, dappled inside the 7-o-clock summer sun. and you will never know this moment but in a primal ticking on the inside of your brain. and i wish you could conceive of how precious and sweet this part of life is – i wish we all could. i wish we could all remember it. honor it. hold on to it. make the glow of the summer hum through the window pane last and last and last. and here you are, lying on the bed now – so little, so big, all at once. i allowed myself to cry for only a moment. and then i curled myself off the bed and let you dream. and let you breathe. and let you grow. all by yourself.