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.

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.

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.

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.