the body remembers

the citrus fest
we eat  for breakfast including
grapefruit, navel orange, page tangerine, pomelo
the sweetness dripping down my wrists
while fire flickers
in the nugget woodstove
the slight sting in my pinky
while holding a clump of dangly forest moss
and eventually turning it over
to find a hibernating bee
which means, i get the message,
i’ll leave the moss in the woods

the body remembers
this willowweave
this updown and back front back
this whip-sorting
this clipper snipping
this magic of a thing becoming
where once there was a collection of branches
my compulsion to level the horseradish beet condiment
evenly into its mason jar with a fork
just like juniper would do
after the meal
before screwing on the lid

solé and i standing
on the grass gone crunchy with frost
under the sky gone sparkly with stars
craning our necks
to gaze upwards
i call orion’s belt the three sister’s she says
i want to make my own star stories

what the light in her makes possible

in the dream
first it was a book i was reading
which then became a movie
and first i was watching
and then i toggled back and forth
between being the lead character and watching the lead on the screen
or reading about her in the book
and in this movie-book
the lead character/me and her/my sidekick
were on some vigilante/avenging mission
which involved multiple hunting down and striking out endeavors
against a young man and his sidekick
and we’re talking brutal:
(a poker on a long-ended stick plunged into the windpipe,
for instance)
the movie/book interspersed the horrifyingly brutal acts
(of which i/the lead were the perpetrators)
with innocuous scenes that lasted forever
(a social gathering,
a long walk,
horrifying in their own way because of not knowing
when the young man and sidekick might appear
and either be further horribly brutalized by me/the lead or
be avenging the avengement
or both
and then
the final scene:
a group of friends (including me/the lead and sidekick) hanging out on the beach
playful and lighthearted
and then, enter stage left
the brutalized man
his hand not even really a hand
held together by black electrical tape
and him staggering
and tattered, unable to focus
either mad with the rage of revenge
or just in the brainfog of shock/trauma
walking with a dragging foot
into the water
and the audience/me watching
and me as lead and audience
on edge
not knowing if he will see me/the lead
(and if he does, if he’ll recognize me)
or just keep playing there in the water
a husk of his human self
not even once looking our way

awake to the sound
of a hawk’s screech above
and the hushed rush of creekwater below
first the mango slices
the mandarin slices
the grapefruit slices and then
mahogany slicing the mahogany-made-bread
and tossing the pieces onto the woodstove top
and we feast: nut butters galore, homemade jams galore, honey and sorghum galore, and miyoko’s butter
the forest earth soft beneath our feet
while we dig in with our bare hands
or the heels of our boots
truffle snuffler
i say
about the dog of a friend of a friend
who helps that person sniff out truffle mushrooms
in the woods
the rough rusty/mustard colored skin
of the salamanders
still or moving winter-slow
at the bottom of the puddles
in the low spots in the forestry road
that we encounter on our farm/off farm walk
the great gust that swoops in
while we carry wood into the common house
for the potluck night stove fire
and then the rain that pours down
and how all i want to do
is curl up and read
the darkened room glowing brighter
with each tea light
lit off of solés sourcelight
while we take turns offering appreciations
for what the light in her
makes possible in our own hearts/actions/spirits/lives
the young kids with dreads
the adults with flowy pants and skirts
the guitars that eventually are busted out
and the three salads on the counter
plus pies and coconut ice cream too
hippy community potluck in the common house
caricature of itself
and home not home to me

four our heart ferns

the creak of the the woodstove door
unlatched and opened
to start the morning’s fire
and then the shovel scrape sound outdoors
of mahogany digging the tunnely pathways
through last night’s massive banks
mountain air freshing and crisping
cool against my cheeks
as i squat over the accumulating snow
to the hushed river rushing
under the multi-flake snow clumps
sifting and dancing down
the tiny darkish bird in the big big snow
calling and perched atop the privy door
there as if to ask for something
or say hello
or to ask me to go away
or something that felt very distinctly about me
and my presence there
which is an angle i try not to take with my
animal encounters but this
one truly did indeed feel this way

the yellow kinglet on the tree near the
park pond where many ducks gather
(the great thing about traveling with birders
is that most of them know many of the names)
the bright bright green fields
looming and stretching
and the grazing sheep shapes that dot them
and in the distance, the gray slate sky
over the dark blueblack mountains rising
no words for the national forest trees
that tower over us
sometimes showering a too heavy accumulation of snow down
no words besides
i love you
while we eat food from the co-op salad bar/hot bar
the traffic lines up outside
as the crosswalk protest persists outside
(a group of people crossing
every ten minutes or so
at the crosswalk where the third person in a year
was killed by a car –
the most recent of which happened earlier this week
and took the life of an 11-year-old

the spritzes we share on the line
spanning from your time zone to me
ffft ffft ffffft, for our heart ferns

don’t get attached solé saying to mahogany
over night tea
while the little wood stove cranks out the heat
and solé and i share the last orange slice

like family

the quadrapus juniper sews
out of worn-out socks
(and fills with catnip)
while we phonetalk
the bright pinkred
of the half morning grapefruit that
lo leaves on the counter in a bowl for me
breaking the pine needle tips
on the cluster of fallen pine needles
to release their sweet sap scent
while we circle and cycle
along washington park arboretum paths
it’s not the same without you jesse says
about writing group
and how it nourishes his spirit
and why it is difficult to keep it going
there are so many opportunities
to miss him jesse says from behind the wheel
driving down 6th avenue downtown
while the gas light is on
the sound of squeaking scissors and ripping fabric
while i do my small part
to assist those at the cedar ship
in the great annual clean
which features magic freezer mystery soup
jesse and jimmy and kaij and james and nettle and cally and erin and i
around a table of home-made food
soothing the years-old ache
for sassy queers making sassy queer smartass comments
and saying brilliant and thoughtful things
and sweet silly things
and holding between us our
years and years of history
that outlive the institutions of our past
(pizza research institute,
townshend’s tea,
how’s your soul james asks
just as we pull up to the house on 24th
where i’m staying
which means we stay in the truck
its headlights still on
talking steam onto the windshield
like family ruby, lo’s sister says
about lo describing
the frequency of going this distance
to visit these people
yes, like family lo and i reply

along the margins of memory / you ask good questions

the sweet halfsleep state
that i remain in while the wily twins
rambunctionize over breakfast down the hall
as michelle shooshes and shoooshes and shooshes them
the three unafraid chickens
i say hello to and squat down near
with my palm open
and the two eggs i carry in
from the coop
in gratitude
here/not here
while wet earth sucks in our muckboots
as we move around the beds of kale, collards, leeks, braising greens, beets, cabbages, etc
here/not here
while danny and i lift edamame pods
and sushi rolls
to our mouths
at the corner table
in the nearly empty restaurant
here/not here
while we stack and unstack
bins filled with radicchio and squash and carrots and braising greens
and roll them into and out of buildings
here/not here
under the heavy weight of waitwondering
and here
with step after step of
moving this body and backpack
through drizzle and mist and light rain
across town
along the margins of memory
and here
while singing
the whitedove song to myself
traffic as backdrop
while moving through the rain
white dove will mourn in sorrow
the willows will hang their heads
i’ll live my life in sorrow
since mother and daddy are dead
the small salad radish he hands me
after cleaning it on the fabric of his pants
this small salad radish
that looks/tastes like this past summer’s turnips
wet and mild
how i chide danny with his shoulder injury
about not just letting me lift the bins
on my own from his suburban
you ask the best questions
danny says
at the wheel of the suburban as
we head south down the I5 to the great greenblue bridge
that crosses over into oregon –
we are talking about place
i’m going to make you a pin that says
‘best question-asker’
and later we laugh about how he
as both a parent and a grocery outlet shopper
has got all kinds of the great granola bar good stuff selections
stashed right into his backpack pocket

how i stop at one corner
to watch the round shapes
the drizzle drops make
in the puddle i almost passed up
without looking at ki
this kind of small joy/discovery (in succession)
is all i want my days
to be made of

over our surprisingly small serving
of the ethiopian veggie combo
and alongside the goofy dry humor comments
of our waitron
jesse unravels recent life events
including crying in ireland
at a proposal he could not accept
and says you ask good questions
because i want every shape and edge
filled out so i can understand/see the context,
the fuller picture
i don’t think living a creative magical dreamlife

is possible anymore but there/here you are
there you’ve been
patching it together and

doing it he says while we
lift pieces of our dessert crepes
(chocolate sauce drizzle and hazlenuts)
to our mouths

but you were the shiny one in a room
he says when i dissect a pattern
of having been drawn to those who draw attention
and what i wouldn’t give
to be able to play this back
to my 26 year old unseen-feeling self
invisible in tuesday’s presence

how i don’t notice until the waitron checks in
that i cup my hands close to my chest
over and over again
when describing the goodness, the sweetness, the homeness
i’ve found to fight for


i want you to fight for this

the electric teapot triple beep
startling me awake like an alarm clock
at 6something a.m. – carpenter coffee time
robert and jacob on my screen
at robert’s kitchen table and me
sitting there too
timespace traveling via computer screen and internet
how i tease them: i noticed ya’ll snacking on something
and it’s rude for you not to share
and robert responds appropriately
by holding the flax cracker up to the computer
and jacob schools him
by showing how it’s done
and holding it up right to the camera
and i grab and pretend crunch
the cracker that has traveled via internet and imagination
from viroqua wisconsin
to portland, oregon

a gold orange black yellow red star-shaped balloon
aloft and drifting against portland gray-on-gray sign
as seen out the window of the blue line max
headed from gresham to the city center
i want you to fight for this a bit more
bruin says you can lean in, but you gotta lean out
so you can lean back in again

snow geese (white necked, dark winged) in a small v
moving over me on the max moving over the willamette river
whose waters move under the steel bridge


the little pats of butter
danny hands out to grabby grabby polly
and ramona who can’t stop shredding
the cheese
the great underwearmaster show
that ramon and her sister polly put on
in leotards and sequins and underwear
that involves the back of a leather chair as a sort of
gymnastics horse
and how the audience’s tickets are shuffled
and redistributed
so that i have to do a cartwheel in the kitchen
and danny has to do a non-shoulder-injuring dance
and michelle has to do an over-the-chairback routine
and frankie also has to do an over-the-chairback routine with sidemoves
and how we are each awarded
stuffies prizes
(and mine feasts on freshly cut unicorn mane)

reading harry potter (boringest book)
with ramona and danny
on the orange curvearound couch
while the fire oranges and yellows in the stove
we each begin by doing our different hagrid voices


up til 1:30am talking over mugs of tulsi turmeric ginger tea
that keep refilling themselves
while the kiddos and michelle
slumbersleep dream
we chime in on carrot varieties,
addiction, the wild and weird states of our lives
how it feels light here
and easy
how i can breathe
into this body
this well loved kitchen
this friendship almost twenty years old


rivering on

bouncing birdie on my shoulders
her in her pink rainboots
me in my cowperson boots
while the rain pelts shiz and birdie and i
and the intrepid runners
that swooooosh past
on the trail with the funny signs
about the danger of off-course golf balls
the feathers of the great blue heron
at the edge of the pond filled with ducks
that we crouch to watch
lifting and lilting and rippling in the wind

how does it work she asks
about the remote yum
we get to make it up i reply
how the rails underneath us screechzoom howl
as we zip faster than the traffic on the freeway alongside us –
its headlight breaklight pulse
rivering on
the brown-paper-wrapped bouquet
that a dark coated passenger stands holding
on the northeast-bound max
as seen from the windowseat of a southwesbound max
the pinkrose roses
on the second floor library carpeting
whose background is an olive-ish green
how i forgot-remember-forgot

the rainwet cobbles of oldtown
and rainwet tarps and tents
and rainwet lightrail tracks laid into the brick
and rainwet trash from tenttarp towns
sogging and slo-mo tumbling (over days and days)
down freewayside hillsides
how the draft hemorrhages
onto page after page after page
plus many acorn points
tacked on after that