when pie pans are extinct

1. after the day begins
with one sun salutation
and two neti pots
the day begins again
with a salted caramel truffle
from the walk-in

2. delivery man
hauls two fiftypound bags of potatoes
at once
over one shoulder
tells me it’s nothing
for those who work in the warehouse

3. paulie wonders if we are sore at him
for coming in so late
and i wonder
if he’s still drunk
from the night before
while i slice russet  potato after russet potato
through the wall-mounted
french-fry slicer

4. can you feel my love buzz
rob plays that nirvana album
that will always make me think
of joolie and i
and suburban street dancing
on the edge
of summer to be
seventeen years ago

5. a bouquet
kraft-paper wrapped
in water in the walk in
something maroonyellow
something whiterose
my name misspelled
with a y instead of an ie
just as it has been misspelled
all these four plus years
the note reads
seriously, thank you for everything
one might say too little too late
of the whole situation
i leave the bouquet where i found it

6. a.m. relays the message for me
from the kitchen counter
reporting my dirty hands
and elbow deep in
plus cashews, pecans and dates

7. pressing nut crust
into speckled blue aluminum
when pie pans are extinct

8. with shelly and steve in the back seat
shannon talks about
the trifecta
of dimsum
also known as
the trilogy of misery

9. just before the sun turns sky to sherbet
we eat at the picnic table
set with tablecloth and fabric napkins
massaged kale salad
corn on the cob
we speculate
about all the ‘burrys on the east coast
and whether or not
bill murray
is from

10. a catalogue of last times
the last time
i sing along to daphna’s
i’m the luckiest guy
on the lower east side

11. she brings me rose tea
and jasmine mint rose in a tulip cup
she brings me a face that is a million faces
depending on how the light falls
and what color her eyes are
and how deep i dive

seven million years of you unraveling around me

1. the day has two beginnings
at 5:40am
in a bed
on holland street
my arms around a bear named rocky
and you
stepping into workclothes
moving quietly
around me
in a bed
on dekum street
my arms around a stuffed heart of patchwork and crossstitching
and a clock that tells me
i should have gotten up
an hour or two ago

2. dreams:
tuesday runs to the corner store
to buy (fake)gold keychains
(four for the four of us)
the corner store does engraving
so each is engraved with a nickname
or a tender moment
for me she buys some ostrich feathers
wrapped in cellophane
and writes her engraving in sharpie on the clear plastic
i want to savor the text
so i wait until later to read it
i wake up

3. ipod on shuffle
this song comes on
which seems appropriate
at this precipice
of one month from now
( 31 days
or about four and a half weeks
or 744 hours
or 44,640 minutes)
when i will be headed south
and you know
i will be looking back

4. wind at my back
six miles south
i am a streak of light
a superhero pressed against time
a blur
dodging pedestrians
construction workers
in my patron saint of messengers
made of white
and three stripes

5. corinne and i
trade scarves
at the landing
my light blue polka dots
for her navy diagonal stripes

6. corinne brings me black tea with ice and a lemon wedge
just before we press ourselves
to the white railing
to wave up to floor 25 of the mirabella
where tyler, mark and neil wave down

7. after the photo shoot
but before the public face slaps
you introduce me
to one of four michaels
your supervisor
whom i ask
in the cockiest way possible
to get someone to work for you on august 14th
while we cruise north
over the superfund waters
of the willamette river

8. i put the water on to boil
an invitation
to a soup feast for four

9. i wish today
had 8 million days in it
so i could spend seven million
with you

meet us at the laundry line

1. filling two coolers
with the contents of our freezer
we toss the mystery meat
and line the counters with condiments
out with the old
and in
with the new
a.m. and i
on fridge detail
while ryder
empties out the washer

2. we re-live
caterpillar (the sock-ish monkey)’s dance moves
laughing all the way through
and i ask a.m.
if she’s ever done any modern dance
in her day

3. home
let me come home
home is wherever i am with you

a.m.’s summer anthem song
riding the airwaves out back porch door
to meet us
at the laundry line

4. a blog tutorial session
in exchange for farewell extravaganza feedback
around the back yard table
under a sun that has finally pushed away
coolgray clouds

5. quinoa and tahini
green garden beans
with onion
and a salad on the side
plus mystery iced tea
which may
or may not
have caffeine

6. five p.m.
bright summersun sweating
i walk in
to order peppermint tea
and a chocolate chip cookie
anticipation cool in my bones

7. she moves the fabric
past my wrist
joking about my superhero band
before tapping the needle into it

8. a sea of seven needles
across the arc of my belly
re-calibrating armor
and breath
while goosebumps bloom
at my collarbones
and wash down
the length of me

9. the one
with beige flaking paint
and two chimneys
plus a lemon wedge
and orange wedge
for windows
that one is ours

10. blueberry juice
and backyard dirt
under short nails
my hands are coming home

11. from a balcony
and a blue room
the luxury
of watching the sun lower itself into horizon
tangerine gold turning ruby red grapefruit
til the sky is nothing
but powder
with papercut trees
pressed against it
this is where i want to press pause
this is the moment i want to spend
the next week in
your mouth on my knee
my arms
wrapped around your sleepsad waking
my hands
tilting black text white page
into dusklight

12. the scarf
the queen anne’s lace
the school-bound photo from 1924
comeplete with a high heel note
impossible kindness
to behold
a parchment paper moonful of gratitude
for you

13. dream deep and sweet
the healing is on its way

dead man’s float

headed north on the 205
then east on the 14
towards clear cold washougal river
we discover
four out of our five fathers
are vietnam vets

two purple hearts
for sustaining wounds in battle
one legally blind
from shrapnel in the eyes
without promise of improved vision
after the surgeon stitched the cornea incorrectly
one with shrapnel in his hips
his body transporting pieces of what exploded
forty-some years ago

one silver star
the exact story
is never spoken
but carried in flesh
another kind of shrapnel

one special forces green beret
where it is said
the most mindfuck things went down
when it comes to such atrocities
how can we begin to quantify
the damage
that carves full-bodied fathers
into shells
leaving the meat behind
in someone else’s jungle
someone else’s rice field
someone else’s village
there, the war is called
the american war

two drafted
two enlisted
one of whom did so
to escape his abusive father
he still agrees
it was the best choice

one worked in construction
erecting barracks
rebuilding bombed villages
of black-haired kids
eating white rice from wide bowls
a metal film canister
filled with vietnamese coins
a story
of how the sun
burned his body so bad he blistered
and a story
of a river bridge for jumpoff swimming
the surprise of a body
floating by

i have asked
veitnamese or american
but i have never asked
clothed or flesh
bloated or newly dead
face down or up

i have never asked
who was there
to collect i.d. tags
that might give this watery man
a name
a ritual
a mother with grief for blood

an offering to cracked soil

1. morning
ariel and i shake hands hello
introducing ourselves in the kitchen
both in our underwear
both in search of water

2. i bring water
to the kale and chard
an offering
to cracked soil

3. dapple dandy pluot
for breakfast
down my morning hand
with a name like that
i wonder
must we really come up with one of our own?

4. counting down
in the dishpit
where black mold grows on the frp
(fiber reinforced plastic) walls
and the grease trap smells like barf

5. patty griffin‘s voice
brings on
a full body sadness
that starts in my collarbones
travels through the orbs of my shoulders
and runs down into the points of my elbows

6. marea says
i should have a going away party at work
just like someone else did
and aaron covered all the alcohol
no way in hell
i tell her
while stacking ceramic coffee cups
i hate this place

7. for the bluffs
i buy
a mango
a mint chocolate ice cream sandwich
and kale carrot salad
the nature of ice cream
that it be eaten

8. you
are on your path

i tell chane
while the first stages of sunset
wash his face
in orange glow

9. the clouds
a white hook swirl
curling into
orangegold horizon
the moon
wrapped in gauze
on the ride home
this night
was meant
for riding bikes

10. p.s.
i’m encountering a severe streak of longing
i wanna get next to you

11. i read how in northeast missouri
the tomatoes are coming on
with eggplant and okra
not too far behind
i remember
what naked pond dips
at this time of year
felt like
in the humidity
ten years ago

breakfast all day portland

1. three am
the email arrives
about the heat advisory

2. we laugh
in the kitchen
at several different interpretations
of what putting water onto boil
for some
it is about
measures of safety
for others
it is about
brewing coffee in a french press

3. leaning
over the edge
head first
you give another meaning
to yogic

4. five pm
she types this phrase
into google search:
breakfast all day portland

5. heels in three parts:
yesterday, it began with a version of saddle shoes
in size 6 1/2
if i had to run
in any of these
i’d break my ankle

6. in the miniature forest
the birch is close enough
to knock on
during our check-in / staredown

7. in a backyard converted schoolbus
a listening party
thrown by macon
in one piece
she  follows the story
of lela anderson
fastest sardine canner
in the u.s.
(we’re talking contest winner)
during the shutdown
of the last sardine cannery
in the u.s.
and how
at age 78
after working at that factory
for over 40
she still
gets up at 4:30 am
thinking she must
go in
for work

8. virginia from argentina
and i
talk about tattoos
house painting
and origins
her face soft
her voice high

9. mykhiel from russia
and i
don’t talk all night
but when we do
we find out
that one of us
has just graduated
with an mfa
in poetry
and one of us
is about to embark
a million lights of excitement
go off in my eyes

10. heatwave in russia
i cannot get over
the great clash
of these two words
jammed against each other
in the same sentence

11. a midday heatstruck photo shoot
taking pictures of strangers
and without
a rainbow colored pinwheel

it would take at least three armspans

1. the first bit of blood
the texture and color
of a sweetcold

2. dialing phone numbers
from my home office
(the bed)
before my feet even touch the ground

3. a sprig
of sideyard mint
in a mason jar
of clearcold water

4. yoga
in backporch sun
every stretch killing me
and i lean
into it

brown craft paper
zigzag stitch rhythm
a mad love affair
with my sewing machine

6. i whisk
almond butter
coconut milk
sri racha hot sauce
pressed garlic
lime juice
and cilantro
while shannon
slices sweet potatoes
and somehow
when i wrap myself around her
at the kitchen counter
i realize
it might have been all
we’ve ever

7. sublime night air
wrapping itself around us
like baby blankets
we each
liberate a redwhite dahlia
on the walk home

8. i reach
around a tree
so magnificent
it would take
at least three of my armspans
to wind around it
and it is not just this tree in this moment
it is the air
how we move through it with ease
as if summer
might finally be here
and the moon
throwing down light
and the leafed out shadows
in the wind
on blacktop
and the fact that
this is a portland street
and shannon and i are walking down it
arm in arm
and at this point
it’s impossible to pretend
that we have any more time
than the four-week countdown til departure

9. shannon
(plutonic domestic partner in crime)
in the back porch xmas light glow
taking notes
on the big bang
and the little bang

10. what happens
if you attach a pick-up
to your stairs,
will it sound
like falling?

dissecting the phenomenon of aloneness

1. my heart
lifted from the depth of my guts
up out my throat
like a bucket from a well
i hope
that bucket
comes up
filled with the words
i am unable to draw out

2. running
on rosa parks
just east of 36th
a small collection of plant starts
with a sign
that reads
free plants

3. i begin
with how good
today has been
(a run
eating real food
eating good food)
and end with
dissecting the phenomena
of aloneness
(visions of hospital beds
and wondering who will sit at their sides
and this feeling
older than me
about how i can depend
on no one)

4. chasing the last patch of goldorange
at sunset
i want our faces
in it
soaking up
the best light

5. you
on agent ashtabula orange
looking like you rode in backwards
from the past
in coveralls
and something like a newsie cap

6. we practice
what it might be like
if, in order to hear each other,
we had to talk into each others pinkies
or mouth to mouth

7. chem trails
fading out and in again
across pinkening sky
like stitches
out in out in
three rows of them
one for me
and one
for each of my sisters

8. on npr
a woman
talks about having to sell
the family ranch
to a woman
who spends most of her life
on a yacht
but bought this land
as a birthday present
for her husband
at the price of four times
what the land makes
as a ranch
i hear the ache in her voice
and i imagine
that it might be a long time
before she can tell this story
without saltwet tears
setting up camp
in her throat

9. the mysterious case
of the missing
rise-up-singing book
i will not panic

10. lilies
double chocolate cookies
and the onemonth (that’s four weeks) countdown

the intentional collaboration of rose and mint

1. yesterday
i mistook a coyote
for a baby deer
saunter and grace in tawny brown
moving across the brand new black top
in a maze
of brand new vinyl siding

2. instead of waking up sore
i wake up energized
thank you dirt
thank you pines
thank you mosquitoes from hell
thank you trainbridge

3. the other side of a week long parentheses
including two collaborations
one intentional (roses and mint)
and one unintentional (water traveling vessels and volcano lava)
glittering in the gray morning
on my front porch

4. add a pair of stockings
to that aesthetically pleasing
collection of yes’s

5. i meet madix jeongHo
for the first time
on the skype video screen
feasting on the third course
(cheerios with strawberries mashed on them)
in the green office
‘mama’ means ‘food’
and when i say it
into my computer
all the way over here in portland, or
his ears perk
as he swivels his head
towards the screen
in minneapolis, mn
not so far from the airport
and even closer
to the edge of a park
that is made up of
all baseball diamonds

6. if only,
we had one more hour
i would wrap you in the soft cotton pre-evening air
put my hand on your shoulder
lean in
and tell you
that you
are doing a real good job
and i adore you
to 8million bits

7. i order
papaya and pineapple tea
on ice
while liz goes for
the rooibos chai
we take a table outside
and deepdive into the finer points
of our fixations on the truths
our relationships to patterns
death and the paradox of a shitty father/a well-loved friend
while the sky turns tangerine around us

8. halfmoon
halfway across blue night sky
into summer night
once i’m moving
i realize
i don’t need to/may not be able to stop
may have to keep going
through the sound of frogs that live in the cool patches
under the great blue heron nests on the telephone poles
towards the tame roar of the portland airport
until i am on the sand
where water meets landalong the columbia river

9. peanut butter snack toast
with bananas on one half
and apricot jam on the other

10. i didn’t bring you
my peanut butter mouth
but i did bring
a bouquet of queen anne’s lace
a bedtime book
a prayer of forgiveness
for snipping fishing line
threaded through your chest
for pulling it out

11. frankie and spats
travel the world
in a giant plucot
(inspiration: james
and the giant peach

12. i don’t know how to do this
i say
walking backwards
towards the door

like one has sea legs, one also has farm legs

1. a few hours
before i actually wake into day
i falsely wake
still layered in my clothes
(evidence of sunday’s monumence)

2. for breakfast:
one egg
plump gold orb yolk
from side yard chickens
once piece of garlic harvested last week
and scraped onto this mornings toast
plus one and a half servings of triple chocolate cookies

3. like one has sea legs
one also has farm legs
and it is evident
while clumisly manuevering that hula hoe
that i haven’t brought my farm legs out of the closet
in years

4. kneeling into dry dirt
wrestling black plastic tube
into black plastic connector
the most successful irrigation set up
in all our shared history
no clogging
no geysers

5. we navigate the unplowed fileds of the
mosquito death trap from hell
(aka the ridgefield national wildlife refuge)
employing several techniques:
a. when danny stops in front of a plant
to talk about it
and asks me to look at it
i tell him
i can’t stop
while walking briskly past.
from there on out, there is no stopping
except for a half second on the downed tree we walked across
to get a view of the river
blue water
like a pouch of spilled diamonds
in the sun
b. excessive arm movement
chopping the air like those wwf wrestlers from new zealand
(the bushwackers)
this provides laughter
which may or may not encourage the mosquitoes
c. breathing through your nose only
so as to not inhale and eat them
d. running
through matted prairie grass which facilitates stumbling and  tripping
and ankle twisting where the land dips invisibly under said grass
while throwing the double-fuck-you signs
to the sky
although the mosquitoes are not coming at us
only from above
(note: jogging
is not actually allowed
in the refuge
danny and i extrapolate,
that the fast motion/movement can disturb the eagles

6. resting
on the footbridge spanning three tracks below
i say
we are not allowed to leave
until a train
passes below us
and finally
it comes
from the north
and we wave
and when i realize
it’s an amtrak
i say
but i wanted
a freight train

7. you know
the day is good
when you can spend all the time it takes
to wait for a train
to rumble past
below you
and while waiting
you finally see eagles
their brownblack bodies
their white heads/tails
catching warm air currents
that hold them
wings out
in stillness
above the oak trees

8. danny
counts change
on the bridge
three dollars
is definately enough
for ice cream sharing

9. still
on the trainbridge
we talk about weddings
and the difference between those we feel an obligation
to attend
and those we wouldn’t miss for the world
and i tell him
how most of the people i’m connected to
can’t marry legally
and how sad it makes me
that weddings and funerals
bring people together
more than anything else
and i crave
that gathering and celebration around me
so much
that i’ve considered staging my death
so i can attend my funeral too
because even if joolie and i
had a commitment ceremony
celebrating friendship
spanning 20+ years
folks wouldn’t give it the same validation
as they would a wedding