leaning in

the dog who followed emory and zane home
trotting alongside me on morning run
up/down the hills of underpass road
white fur with light brown patches
emory and i emerging algae-covered
swamp monsters from lookfar pond

jerk i say jokingly when
mica with sad/plead eyes says
about the circle of song we’re making
tookie would love this

song circling under cedar tree we
sing before lunch we
sing before dinner
some songs we clap and stomp/move/roam/rotate
some songs we are seated, still, leaning in
i’m on your dream team adam says
after reflecting how
incredibly possible it is for
my visions to bloom right here
some serious magic being worked
back/forth on this front porch

i hear you say he says you think you should be doing more/
that you think whatever you do is not enough
in an exchange where at some point
each of our pairs of eyes are lightly glazed
with tears

emory’s praying mantis in
cobra/hunting pose
on porch floor
too many too sad tomatoes
collected in too few buckets
and stored on the floor of karma kitchen

gnat whine hovering and buzzing
around both ears while i
pluck papery lanterned
tomatillo fruits
under strange post-dinner sky
(the quality of pink edged clouds
to the north and west
and how pinkgold light radiates
in the south
suggesting storm)


storm rolling in we move from fire
to porch where, in candlelight,
we open our mouths and hearts
to let our voices and guts spill out

the question i say to a phone in the desert
that can receive me but not reach me
is how wide
(in reference to being broken open
by beauty/pain and the ecstaticness and disaster
that is life)

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twining our voices together

ian, marie and adam
silent, sitting
in karma living room
as i open my door to morning


may you be broken open i write
across time zones
by beauty today

10am under the cedar tree
(leopold benches and blankets arranged accordingly)
and we begin with a song i can barely find my way through
not because of musical difficulty
but because of how it talks about
how we’re only here for a little while
(recollecting kate: life is such a short summer)
and in this time we have
making it sweet by twining our voices together
in this little while we have
highlighting a healing i didn’t know
was waiting to be had

other lyrics/songs that get me:
1. i’m gonna sing this song
i’m gonna raise up to the night sky
i’m gonna sing this song
i do believe i’m back on solid ground
2. the song about water

life to life
as opposed to all other songs
about water that are sad
3. the song that has the word shame in it

(a reference to letting it go)
and a line about singing ourselves brighter

a common chorus from our ppc guests
can i help/support in any way?
my common response: i’m almost finished/
it’s cool/i’m good
which eventually gives way to me saying
well, i’ve got these collards to de-stem or
can you carry leftovers across the street
emory showing me how

several of the strawflowers have
turned themselves completely
inside out

we concentric circle around tookie
singing the goodbye song
whose lyrics i don’t remember
except for a reference to going home
and the notion of coming home
is always a punch
to the solar plexus
everyone else says goodbye and

i say see you soon

bad news about the grinder and the wheat but
joseph at the frybread helm pulls it off
seamlessly anyway and we carry plates
of crisped dough out to the tables

trish in neckercheif shimmer
on top of all fundraiser/presentation details
with an impressiveness
(she brought tape
she brought towels
she even brought the speaker
with its cord)

bagels dropping knowledge
of the heartache of
everyday colonialism
(in the form of elder’s land
already surveyed
by coal mining company
and everything else ouch
in relation to black mesa)

which brings me to sharing the zora neale hurston quote
i do not weep at the world – i’m too busy sharpening my oyster knife
before i go on about how the oreo packet almost broke me

but the part about having a sense of humor
was the thin thread that led to a yes
before i do that thing with a
slideshow and details

the sound of song bright
and radiating out of
common house kitchen as the
ppc crew cleans up down to the last
i’ve got some kiddos to put to sleep too
i say in reference to these
bouquets of small details
gathered across the day’s expanse

orbiting around you i say and then
more aptly rephrased: i’m so grateful to be in your orbit

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putting grief on posters

sneaking in a post-lunch chapter
(not that i even intended to sneak it in
but i just happened to open the book
sent by my be-fry called truth and beauty
by ann patchett about her fellow writer/dear friend lucy grealy

and grieving her fellow writer/dear friend)
perfectly lengthed for such appetizer-indulgings

later, i read an article by lucy’s sister
calling out ann for going public
with private lives
for putting the grief on posters
in bookshop windows
the sortof surrealness of

amped guitar and drums
garage punk style
sound swirling out from studio
drifting over north garden
down gravel roads
up through black walnut branches

edamame attempt three
i poke seeds into sandy north garden soil
in the parting of mulch
where failed flowers grew

descending second last hill
freshly graded gravel under running shoes
thinking about a gesture to
all the folks (a tiny sum, it seems)
i have allowed to
deeply take care of me
or to witness me in my sick/scared/hurt [not being the self i want to be] moments
and the sacredness of that opening
and how the inbreath outbreath of running
fight the
throatlump of gratitude tears

like siblings i comment about
charlie and tookie who
have known each other since kindergarten
and grew up several blocks apart
she says naming how

it is when we dive into
and later: i mean it as a compliment
i dressed up
i say for the movie

motioning to the pink sparkly footwear
i donned just for the walk to the couch

tookie and charlie
laughing about
what kindof name
is johnny castle!?
oh i … had the time of my life
and i’ve never felt this way before…
songburst in upstairs karma as

mica opens the door
to let cool moon-sparkled air in
from the water world:

An Indian boy dressed as Hindu god Shiva to attract alms from devotees chats with tourists as they sit on benches partially submerged in flood waters on the banks of the River Ganges in Allahabad. – voice of america, day in photos

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harvest is thin

before the day heats up
we chase the disc and each other
up/down the dew-wet field
it’s kindof excessive i respond
when kale appreciates my vocalizations

placing spearmint on
dehydration racks under
not yet noon sun
sweat rising to skin surface
on calves
dripping down chin
(107 tyler says heat index)
hi-five pop-up card featuring
heart and stars rainbowified
and two bears (one polar, one panda)

pack of fruit-striped gum
(sent in reference to a
seattle halloween costume)
passed around and around
at the meeting to keep up
with the quickly disintegrating flavor
you look like a gym teacher trish says
of the tank shirt mouth full of chew combo
we talk tomatoes and
canning quotas knowing this year
the harvest is thin

hoophouse flopping-over tomato busted trellis hedge: two points
frank the tank: one point
pesto roasted potatoes scent
originating in oven-warmed kitchen
and radiating outwards

everyone was in the streets
celebrating and crying
nina says of the berlin wall coming down
my mother didn’t know a germany without it
come with us rachel responds
to my don’t go regarding
her and dan’s bike departure/doughnut run
set for tomorrow morning
(wherein jello wrestling
may or may not be involved)

gorgeous wilderness i call her
sending shivery sweet dreams
and all varieties of light
i have ever known

night breeze making a nearly
mosquito-less moonglow lightning flicker hammock sit possible

from the water world:

A helicopter from the Andalusian Firefighting Service (INFOCA) drops water over scrub land during a forest fire in Los Barrios, near Cadiz. Since July 19 wildfires have ravaged nearly 39,000 hectares of land in Spain, according to the provisional figures from the agriculture ministry. – voice of america, day in photos

A boy plays near a fountain depicting a water tap in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. – voice of america, day in photos


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sing the storm on

rachel and dan on their
farm bike from winona tour
bent over in lookfar with us
tugging at tomato and pumpkin weeds
we joke about evangelical christian
jello wrestling and other
sexy-so-you-can-feel-guilty teenage arrangements

like a long dark wave
rolling across the length of sky i
describe standing under storm
in look-far watching it come in
from the west
how the air forms a cool edge
just before the winds pick up
then the downpour

under cover of plastic where
rain slams and runs down
hoophouse curve i perch
and howl/sing the storm on

baby bunny body
rigor mortisy
in trish’s cupped palm
on front porch

applause and cheering sounds of
rounds of the game affirmation
unfolding on front porch while
lulu, baigz and i
strategize with our
fundraising prowess
the story of a
passive aggressive prayer bell


forerunners i say in the
bag of nouns world
while we make up and execute a
fifth round of
making sound under a sheet

sharpies uncapped we
knuckle-tatt the fists
to our left and right
revealing the following:
riot life
wyld lyon
dark trip
butt dusk
tent bone
glam neon

how we just had
to talk about / storytell
the prairie burn again
moon haze hnaging in sky
glow diffused over hill
down gravel
across limbs of trees and me

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not yet yellowing

wherein i wake to rain
(sound blended by window fan on low)
and one itchy bug bite
on each ankle
the clicking of poles as we assemble
rachel’s giveaway tent
on a rainy morning
in karma living room


silvery discovery out the window
spotted by emory
zooming up into the air and
back down again
turns out to be my headlamp
(handy for viewing mildew)
house and club-house emory distinguishes
the indoor tent from the blanket fort
(the latter inside which we
chomp just-popped kettle corn
while playing the game-that-never-ends
of spiderman uno)

how the huge butterfly i stopped to watch in
the zinnias the other day: giant swallowtail
now has a name found on the pages of the bug identification book

broken up with her four times
but she doesn’t know it
joseph laughs as i decant
the next batch of berry-colored
(red/purple) kombucha
greenhouse dirt floor under bare feet
in my hand the first and perhaps only
lemon cuc plucked from vine
rounded out and not yet yellowing

already disadvantaged by swamp conditions
i growl/curse each time a tomato branch snaps
as i gently wrestle/rearrange the strayers
to be held up by baling twine t-post trellising

buildings and bridges
are made to bend in the wind
to withstand the world that’s what it takes
all that steel and stone
is no match for the air my friend
whatever bends breaks
whatever bends breaks
i hum/sing

german though i cannot discern the german-ness
of nena’s sunflower/onion bread but has
something to do with the heartiness and texture
kombeercha i suggest
the name of the booch/beer cocktail
baigz and joesph sip from
san francisco mission early evening light
bright in joolie’s eyes and on her white/gold wall
sliced up only the way
communication-by-satellite can slice

end-of-day skin scent mix of
tomato plant residue
and sun/heat/humidity-induced saltsweat

not throwing rainbows but still
the things the moonlight does
through the facets of the loft window-dangling prism

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sound from the east

in thailand nina says
about a funeral she was invited to
for a 27-year-old
who died on his motorcycle
that she didn’t even know
they celebrate life
their happinesses, their achievements
they are sad, yes, but it is a celebration
of life
some countries (switzerland)

have never been at war
i say
the u.s. always is

bunny in the box em singing
while he and i share backseat belt
and i tell him about the birdie seatbelt formation
of our toyota corolla days
which seques into
tryin to catch me ridin’ birdie

peppersteak i remember
the dish my mom used to make
and sister used to love
that ty’s stir fry seasoning/flavor
tastes exactly like

mason jar of gloriously fuschia
and gloriously cold cold
frozen-blended watermelon
offered post-frisbee
we pass around to share gulp-sips

we surface dive down
to swim through cool spots
watch this i say of my new combo stroke:
one right sidestroke
one back stroke
one left side stroke
one breast stroke

nina reading from her notes during her
informal (but organized) german music presentation
from the 80s til now
how the sound from the east was a

punk band singing about squats
and the sound from the west was
candy pop
playlist includes
helene fischer
paul kalkbrenner (minimalist)
people don’t know
how good they are
max decontextualizes the details

which is a favorite way to read myself
people so often don’t know
but you go out of your way
to help them see their ‘how goodness’

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