into the desert and off the grid / folded in your light

dear comrades, readers, lovers, family & homeslices,

i have been preparing for this day my entire life.
(or, at least seriously for the past two or three weeks).

i’m conveniently writing this from the comfort of my own rural northeast missouri farm community home on the eve of the 15th of november (i can do this trick where i schedule a post for some time in the future – so that’s what i’m doing. time traveling.)

tomorrow – meaning the day this future-dated post posts itself, i leave to return to black mesa, arizona to be on-land support with navajo elders who are part of a 40-year legacy of resisting forced relocation at the hands of peabody coal mining company in cahoots with the u.s. government. (more here.) i’ll be at black mesa for 2 1/2 weeks with two of my farm-mates (trish and baigz)… herding sheep, fetching water, cooking food, eating grandmother’s frybread, sweeping all that desert dust off those slabs of rug, watching the first light of day – a thin red line – appear outside the thin-paned window, writing letters and postcards to you in candle-light/headlamp light, doing ridiculous photoshoots out on the mesa just to get my yah yah’s out, cleaning wool, playing old maid with grandmother, walking and walking and walking that great juniper-bush’ed expanse until my feet finally make friends with my hiking boots just as i am about to depart. and sleeping deeper and dreaming harder than i’ve ever slept/dreamt before in my life.

after that, i break away from my farm-mates and  hop on a greyhound in flagstaff to land in tucson where i will train for a day and then head out to base camp in the mexico/u.s. borderlands with no more deaths/no mas muertes where i will be providing basic medical aid if need be and  hauling gallons of water and cans of food to leave for migrants traversing the hostile territory.

in some ways, despite the two intensive weeks of some massive crossing-off action on some serious to-do lists, i know i’m not ready for this. i never will be.

i have an extraordinary sense of all the people i will be carrying with me (and who will keep me warm) out there (partly due to this gofundme campaign i posted and the responses it  elicited [and how i found, while i was blown over by people’s generosity with their dollars, what really gets me is how deep the streaks of care run through them]… and partly due to the ways all the brilliant people in my life share slices of themselves for me to take) – and it feels profound.

i keep re-learning that one of my deepest desires is to connect with humans (and connect them to each other) in depthful, meaningful ways – and to carry as many people inside my ribcage as possible. as i am approaching the threshold (between being here and being there), that threshold clears everything that blurs my vision and it is showing me that i’m packed to the edges of my skin with you. all of you. your glimmerings and busted hearts and reachings towards what you desire…. your scared parts and courageous parts and thriving parts and  healing parts and all the places where those parts overlap.

what i’m saying is, i couldn’t feel any more grateful to carry the gold that is you (all of you!) inside my own light. and out on that mesa and out in the militarized zone, i will hold my light folded in your light up to that desert sun in the deepest gratitude i have for being connected to you in this world.

more ache and light than you could ever know,


(p.s. all that is to say, i’m going to be mostly off the grid for the next month and a half and will do my best to catch up when i can.)

Leave a comment

Filed under daily practice, images, poems, poetry, writing

the wet sheen of road laid out before us

(please note, due to being written on a kindly loaned smart thing, the usual format may look slightly different than the usual.)

throwin peace signs and raised hands

out the opened back seat windows

as trish stands up through the sun

roof while  stan, mica, Cynthia, Tyler, joseph, and Emory

send us off with trombones trumpets tambourines and a pink yellow orange ridged  tube that whistles when swung in the air in circles

gift #1: the star card

pulled from the deck in the car on our way out

the most hopeful card in the deck trish says

and she lays it on the dashboard next to baigz’s eight of bones

and her ace of feathers

so glad trish or baigz says in the front seat

which leads to me singing

i wake to the light and the beauty around me

i wake to the light and say so glad you found me

soooo glad sooooo glad

which we all join in on for a moment

and then carry

resonating in me

gift #2


that would work as a knuckle tatt I say

of junk yard which reminds me I forgot to tell mica

the same of chainsaw

rolling through Kansas on I-70

drizzle on the windshield

the entire sky the same gray

just closer in some spots and further in others

and a handful of bare trees whose toppest

branches are adorned with the last gold leaves

fluttering but not yet letting go


wherin we substitute lard for lord due to

a mention of lard candles

and then we sing this song

i saw the light, lard

no more darkness 

no more strife

praise the lard I saw the light


that’s not funnely I pun

about baigs saying

there’s a funnel cloud in this Kansas sky

we are rolling under


you can take your time 

i tell baigz as the rain begins

to pummel the windshield

rendering our visions blurred


kansas treated us right trish says

as we cross over into colorado

under a seriousl WTF sunset cloudshow

accompanied by the wet sheen of road

laid out before us


i call her unicorn and thank  her for the road magic

reporting: for a while, we were the storm

and then a rainbow broke us open 

right across the gold -plated prairie

where kansas and colorado meet


i went to three  thrift stores 

and none of them existed 

trish says about the outdated gps and

life without a smart phone


Leave a comment

Filed under daily practice, poems, poetry, writing


flashing the peace sign
out the drivers window
to mica at road-edge
while moving the loaded car
from one spot
to another

trish and i laughing about
her handful of greasy duckmeat
colliding with my finger
at the butcher block
she’s vegetarian trish explains

sky-diamonds glimmering
against inkblue night

the little (huge) tradition mica and i have
of slipping each other farewell and welcome home

though i have succeeded in packing light
i still can’t decide about whether or not
to bring the tarot cards (which always travel with me)
and whether to bring the utilitarian baseball cap
or the rainbow tiger stripe sequin cap

Leave a comment

Filed under daily practice, poems, poetry, writing

all the open arms awaiting

refilling the small tin
that goes everywhere i do
with the triple spice mix
(cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom
plus some bonus ginger and
a pinch of turmeric)
meg the border collie and i
reunited for the first time since our
house-sitting partnership
how she snorts and snuffles
and does all those other excited dog things and
how i’m delighted to receive the love

i made an agreement not to scream
i say about the post-frisbee dip
in the 40-something? degree pond

all the open arms
awaiting in the
mercantile glow
(kurt, alline, meadoe
plus alyson gave me a hug on
the frisbee field instead of
a hi-five)

it’d be like finding a contact lens
we laugh about looking
for the new moon in the night sky

first-dusk hunter i say
to/about trish whose hands are
red-brown with blood (darkening
and becoming a sticky second skin)
and who leaves a warm bag of organs
in a bowl on the kitchen table

like walking through a house made of honey
smell of beeswax is the only thing the air
is made of while arielle stands at the stove
patiently dipping and dipping the wicks again
and again

Leave a comment

Filed under daily practice, poems, poetry, writing

to quiet the canine cries

your ardent fan
karen signs her email

from two time zones over


wherein i ask the oracle (google) how old is a star
and it tells me there is evidence
to support the fact/idea that the sun
is 5 billion years old

when amy writes
i want you to greet your pain
like a beloved nemesis and ask it
to enter into your home and offer
it something delicious for lunch.
break that motherfucker down, honey.
then, when it doesn’t feel like pain anymore,
go find smoething else that can get you
back to that kinfe-edge of pain.
that is the only place to be
it makes me think:
1. she should never stop writing
2. she should be a therapist
3. she resembles pema chodron, but with more sass


joseph laughing at the sight of me
kneeling alongside the little oscillating fan
in the last warm squares of sun
as i bring palmful of seed and chaff
up to the electric breeze

dustin on banjo sweetly belting
on the porch
a song i think i recognize
that lilts into a chorus about
waiting so long
that brings a shine to the air as i
move through it towards underpass road

knowing this may be the last
run before departure
i thank the familiar
curves the road takes through
the familiar rise-falls of land
as i range to the train bridge and back
and then loop around the back road
i thank the dirt and dust the tire tracks are made of
for absorbing all i’ve ever needed to shed
while working it out by
placing one foot swiftly
in front of the other

my shadow in the long light
bobbing beside me on the
hay bales turned golden
in the setting sun

blackening ceremony he says
performed only at night

jack whimpering all afternoon in the yard
and into the night in mica’s bed
since his ball-less return from the vet

mica and i singing hush little baby
on her bed to quiet
the canine cries


from the water world:

Waves break in front of the South Pier on Blackpool Promenade, northern Britain. Abigail, the first named storm to hit Britain, whipped up winds of up to 84 miles per hour and cut power to 12,000 homes. – voice of america, day in photos

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

it may take longer than i want but i’ll get there

helping mica with her zipper
and cynthia helping me with my knot
and me loaning cynthia the sequinned kerchief
not sure if you heard i tell stan
but lunch is a black tie event
crinkle of harnesses
packed into plastic packages
while i remove seeds from zinnias
and joe stretches on the ground
to my right
mica and i gathered around
living room tent
assembled in exchange for a poem
discussing tarps and stakes and seam seals
unnamed phenomenon:
the fleeting space between waking
and the washing-in of
the reminder/realization/replaying of death
(of a person or relationship)
alton’s soft voice
carried across the line
from tuba city
when sawblades become needles
and the place-holding power of a knot
is revealed_______
still finding my way through the jumbly
scribble of feelings and healings i say
i’ll get there. it may take longer
than i want, but i’ll get there.
i just haven’t arrived yet – turns out
i’m an in-progress creature
(healing, but still so tender)
then sign: in fumbling human-ness

Leave a comment

Filed under daily practice, poems, poetry, writing

call it subterranean

gold/yellow of ginkgo leaves
fluttering against the greens of
slater’s hill and brown-reds of
oak leaves and sky gray
the color – its bold bright and contrastyness
a kind of exclamation point
in the landscape

i’m a sucker i say for personal growth/
deep work
and call it subterranean

the high whine-zoom of
dancing rabbit turbine
how it makes mica and i sortof duck
with the feeling that the propellers might
fly off at any moment

burst of hazy light breaking
through film of stormcloud
breaking gray up into unusual glow
beyond bared branches
and rooftops
as seen from timber frame overlook window


can i give you some instructions
she says
regarding the sleeping bag handoff

june taking a seat
next to the octopus costume
which takes a whole seat for itself

hunched on stool over bowl of supper
how i can’t stop teasing trish
about the gowns

the knock of our hunks of wood
wrapped with black string-rope
against floor under our bare gripping feet
while we work awkwardly (first time first tools)
weaving broom corn to
hand stripped/sanded handles

one feature of this eco-constructed building:
the scratch of pink foamboard
as it rise-falls in its place
while the high high winds
push and pull


Leave a comment

Filed under daily practice, poems, poetry, writing