destination: treehouse

my dear fellow human,

today i am in a truck headed south.
destination: treehouse
destination: campfire
destination: oil lamp glowing in the night
destination: self
destination: a convergence of documentary poets lined up on a bookshelf in a second-floor studio along with a typewriter
destination: california redwoods
destination: analogue
destination: coolblue riverwaters 

i will be off the grid until september 15th or so, which means i will not be updating my blog during that time (though hopefully i will be catching up when i return to the land of electricity.) 

i hope in my absence you find a way to carve out some time to unplug for yourself. find a star or two in the sky. fish language up from the sandy bottom of some body of water. put your hand to the bark of a tree. fall in love with the sky that connects us night after night. 

xo,

frank

water braiding itself back

1. we catch the sun on the sideporch
sometime around 9:45 am
a plate of fruit you have sliced
and arranged that glistens
sugarsweet in morning light
i cannot stop
reaching for the speckle-skinned pluots 
while a chorus of hammers meeting nailheads swells
at the habitat for humanity site across the street

2. six colors of ink
including yellow
in one pen
on impulse
we buy 

3. manual windows cranked
all the way down
summer heatwind tugging tendrils from my
bobbypinned pileup
it feels good to be on the road with you
i say

sideglancing your sticky-uppy hair
skeleton keys and bells strung from cab ceiling
chiming when we get to the gravel 

4. led zeppelin and steve miller band in the cassette player 
katrina puts a whole new spin/perspective on this song
i say as i 
sing along

5. sunscreen sheen on the water
you say
about the washougal river’s milemarker 7
while slow and steady hugging the curves of county sheriff’s favorite speed trap
you meaning tyler
and washougal meaning ritual 

6. the convergence of four unlikely rivers
(clackamas, washougal, sandy, illinois) 
and one ocean
we empty bottles
water braiding itself back into a live and whirling current

7. the red candle
is for crossroads
rock-perched and flickering
tucked in among the mossy trickle 

8. sandalwood, frankincense and cedar
on the throwing blade
we anoint our necks, backs of knees, temples, wrists

9. glitter for the brass boat and cheekbones
flame for the 14-year-old incense
coal for the palo santo shavings
a nest for the needles
i think i see otis redding perched across the river
i say

when i release the ocean

10. baby kangaroo mouse
shuffling through half-sleep out of its leaf-nest
eyes unopened
we have only known it
half a minute and already
we want it to survive
which is why
i turn my head and gesture towards leaving when
it fumbles towards the shore

11. this
i say
pointing with my travel fork
to the tupperware of shredded salad
is all i need 
and the dressing
two tablespoons each of:
red miso
sesame oil
olive or vegetable oil
rice vinegar
brown rice syrup
tamari
garlic
ginger

 

12. we lounge and curl
our towels unfurled beneath us
shuffling decks until we arrive at
the priestess
art (temperance)
the ace of swords
and the sun

 

13. isn’t it a shame how we
break each other’s hearts
sings nina simone on cassette
while we wind south
the sun a disk of orange candy slipping into the blue columbia to our right
mount hood wrapped in haze
peak stained pink
to our left 

14. for all the bones that have never been mentioned
my palm along the lines of your collarbones
your jawline
your work-strong body

fiction in flashes

1. black yoga mat rolled out onto black hardwood
it is difficult to not want to look at everything
horse photos
a book of hand painted birds
various lamps circa 1960 
flexing hike-tight calves
one at a time 

2. when the shit goes down
raki says
a triangle of a veggie sandwich
good enough that one might fantasize about it
held in her hand
i wanna go down with it

3. raki reads fiction in flashes from her laptop while i
floorsprawl
my fingers under the chin of a purrmachine
short gray fur with white sox
sometimes referred to as tunces
it is summer and you could charge 15 dollars and hour
and call this secondfloor bedroom a sauna

4. i take off my tights at the corner of 
14th and alberta
pretending this is the beach and i am just changing into/out of
my swimsuit 

5. dyanne and i
worksiblings
kick our feet up onto milk crates on the sideporch
iced green jasmine tea sweating
in mason jars on the tabletop

6. i have never seen anything red
in felice’s kitchen
you say about  
beet juice bits and the ways they stain 

7. chronology of water
by lidia yuknavitch
a.m. tells me
i should read this book 

8. you hold the pink plastic elephant-shaped watering can
under the kitchen sink
collecting cold water until it turns warm

9. 100 miles away
is an arbitrary distance
but it is equivalent to far 

10. night air like water
cool and spilling in opened windows and doors
austra in rotation while we
balcony-sit 
stars poked into sky above us
cross-legged
lawnchair perched
i tuck my bare feet into the backs of my knees

 

wraparound balcony

feet sticky with
banana flower tree sap
on the sun-side of a wraparound balcony
still wanna go to paris in october?
you ask

not long after the word chandelabra
comes out of your mouth

and we are both laughing

_____ finds its way back to _____

1. if it’s true, what that instructor said about yoga
being about what we’re doing with our breath
and not what we’re doing with our bodies 
then i am doing yoga in the front seat of this white
airport-bound minivan
rolling  south on highway 55

2. overheard from seat 42f:
my dad used to tell me there were 100 birds
pulling this plane along
and i believed that for a very long time 

3. farewell tree lines that follow rivers
farewell mock duck and bike boulevards
farewell forever sky and the lightning that slices it in half like a beveled edge

4. airport worker in safety orange tshirt
tapping together the two plastic guiding/steering sticks
in a rhythm i can almost hear through the
pressure-sealed cabin walls

5. flying under a thundergray sky
sun presses through its frays/rips

6. how following the columbia river
has often meant arriving home
though usually it involves rolling in on that strip of  205
rather than hovering above it
how the water
loses life
at such distances 

7. when the virginian next to me
asks about which mountain is which
i tell her
her geography might be better than mine
though i can point out the columbia
and mt. st. helens 

8. shannon, tyler, corinne and i clink plastic icewater cups together in celebration of
freckles
yoga-face
dance bruises and
home 

9. breadbox-perched 1950’s kitchen radio tuned to npr
heard in the 5 minute span i tune in for:
it’s clear that muammar al-qaddafi is essentially
not running this country anymore
news of cheers when the rebel forces broke into tripoli

10. head under bathtub faucet
coldriver breaking over my skull
i lay my dripping curls down
inhaling your essential oils and laundry detergent  
in a toasteroven of a seconstory balconied room
knowing i will want to take this smell with me
knowing that this is impossible 

11. we watch it drop from sky
something like a shooting star in slow dripping motion
except for the part where it was first headed towards us
across sky
and for the part where it spiraled
and then dropped

12. balconyperched
and i think of bones
how i carry you in them
and how this is one thing
(two things) i can be sure of in the face of
every other unkown

13. stepping in from a walk around the block
11pm
i wanted to bring the huge (coniferous) trees back for you but
they were a little bit unmanageable

 
14. my bare summershoulder aching
in ghostpain 
next to yours in its
faceplant and bikebruise  aftermath
 

we saran wrap circuits in our brain

1. breakfast
a fridgecold plum
shout out to
william carlos williams

2. amber and i side by side ride
helmeted and pedaling minneapolis streets this
is me in one of my
natural states

3. how the spiral on my arm
makes madix laugh and when asked
he will point to the center swirl

4. number of languages heard spoken in hyland park reserve today:
at least 4 or 5

5. me in bare feet on black top while we talk about your
ten-years-ago trip to mexico

6. something like synapses
you talk about how we saran wrap circuits in our brain
carving paths
how the mug conditions us for the coffee to come
how the lit candle
the special chair
can condition us for the work

7. this song

8. hardwood floor
warm
where my bare  feet stood

9. whale sounds
i swear
sometime around midnight
outside bedroom window
or the sound of a train backing up slow into a curve
minus the screeching

farewell gift of decibels and electricity

1. one of the greatest sites on minneapolis streets
especially
if viewed by bike
not to mention the brick ivy-covered building
i wish i had a camera for capturing

2. a silver soupspoon
in the chocolate hazelnut butter
on the breakfast table
in an orange kitchen

3. dissolving salt in warm lakewater
not the real thing
but close as we might get around here

4. raw cashew cheese rolled in sun-dried tomatoes
with triangles of raw flax crackers for dipping
plus a kale and red cabbage salad
(when ami declares her adorations
for kale and red cabbage
i of course agree and
trace this taste back through our ancestry
it’s in our polish blood
i say)

5. there is a big difference
between the word costume
and uniform
i laugh
uniform being the mode of dress
that i subscribe to

6. tall iced glass of cardamom tea
(whole pods, steeped)
and a cast iron pot of coconut green tea
we unpeel our recent pasts
drop tales of heartbreak and healing like
onfire leaves

7. the hardest part of lifting off from this city
will be my sister
shrinking into a distant and more distant speck
with every foot of elevation gain
and by the time we reach flying altitude
poof
disappeared completely

8. rainsprinkles on our noses and shoulders
i attempt to will another thunderstorm
into the open sky
of this city
farewell gift of decibels and electricity

9. who says a book of poems isn’t going to take apart the border wall
you ask
i mean at the right angle
the right meter
you never know
a statement/proposal for which i have doublelayered gratitude

once for making me laugh
and once for its absolute truth
(the prying open
a wedge
of possibility)

10. things i know for sure:
the origin of the pain is not quite the spine but somewhere in this stack of bones called ribs
mercury is still in retrograde
backup plans are always a good idea

11. the art of space-carving
like one shaves off curls of wood
with a hand-plane
room for the risefall
of breath
room for
walking backwards out an opened door
how i might not want to see any faces
only trees

12. as for the universe
well
we’re going to have to have a little sit down
talk some things out

it’s not like a book of poems is going to take apart the border wall

1. the part
that breaks me wide open
is not that my sister was sick last night
knelt down on black/white bathroom tile
but
to share a city
that i am able
to hop on a bike and grocery run
to bring her apple sauce and rice crackers
that she can curl up on a couch under a beachtowel as a blanket while i read her
the one book that madix
cannot yet sit through

2. knobby mountain bike tires vibrating against
summerhot concrete
i pedal the perimeter of lake nokomis
trees filled out
leaves lifting in wind

3. let’s be honest
i say
it’s not like a book of poems
is going to take apart the border wall
is going to resurrect the young (unarmed) black men killed by cops
it’s not like a book of poems
is going to uninvent the gun
the military industrial complex
the atomic bomb
the dollar bill
though perhaps it could
one human at a time
at least soften us towards this

4. zine mobile parked at the curb we sip
sparkling grapefruit water discovering
how both our last grandparents died this year
me talking about how much closer i was to my grandma’s history/narrative
than my grandma herself
and you talking about how your grandma loved hosting parties
how you found dresses made out of newspaper
while cleaning out her dream of a house

5. a crowd of ants
black swarm
conventioning
on top of the neon orange of
sidewalk cheesepuff

6. a bicoastal convergence
of some kind of shared blood
we hug hello
while the texts from two time zones away
rolls in
social overlay we are like transparencies
a kind of time traveling
history looping forward to future
who knew that
a name i first heard in a basement on 8th and division
eight years ago
would be the name
falling out my mouth
before we hug hello

7. it’s not necessarily fun all the time
i explain the disembodiment
the aches
but it expands me(/my work)
i say of the mfa program
and that alone is worth it

8. streetcrossing i point out the sewer cover
and the mismatched streetstripes
and how i love
details like this

9. first
spinach salad with candied pecans
cranberries
light herbed tofu diamonds
and some kindof vinagrette
then
the 8slice pizza
banana peppers
pineapple
mock duck
and rinotta
not to mention
the peanut butter bar
chocolate-syurupped and
cube-sliced

10. he double checks to see if it’s really me
sean
portland housemate from 8 years ago
at the trainstation
we remember
dressing in drag around the bonfire
polaroid pictures to prove it
and the dairy factory smell
and the picture window
overlooking the triangle traintrack intersection
where whistles blared all hours
and in the summer
with windows open
how we’d have to wait for the train to pass to continue carrying on
our conversations

11.  i can see it from here
highways
rest stops
downtime in between the shows and workshop
connecting city to city like a life-size dot to dot
summer 2012 the tour
we’ve all been waiting for

12. amber and i bike across blue-lit bicycle/pedestrian bridge
spanning hiawatha
the re-routed highway home of the largest police action in minnesota
dismantling minnehaha free-state occupation
friends and people i’ve never met
pulled by their limbs out of squatted houses by
gas-masked cops
wrestled out of tree sits
pepper spray applied directly to eyes
before the bulldozers
took out the stand of
4 sacred oaks
from this bridge
tonight
the threequarter moon
bulging
out of clouds
in the east sky
and a death
that can never be buried

13. on this visit
i am learning
how
although i have shown up
writing alone
is not good enough
how i must send the poems
off on ships
something similar to
sowing seeds
how a poem cannot grow
in all that dark and stillness
how it too desires
to expand

14. it’s too early to tell
but
upon first listen
this song
is momentum
openness
possibility

the one time we peel apart

1. tall-stool perched
alongside madix’s high chair
this is by far
my favorite place in the house
not only because it is in the orange-bright kitchen
and the stool is the most comfortable
but because
i get to sit next to this small sweet human
ladybug and small silver stickers
stuck to his fingertips

2. welcome frannie
the note on the kitchen table says
in amber’s familiar and perfect sharpie script
my return-note reads
how on earth did you find the time to do all those dishes?

3. joAnn offers water
in a bird-printed glass
we sit at the breakfast nook
and something about joAnn’s kitchens
how they will always feel like home to me
how we shared one once

4. we joke about
management’s choice
of so many antlers on the bright-lit walls
of the blackbird cafe

5. bowl of dumdums near the door
i choose the mystery flavor
which turns out to be grape
which makes taking a chance worth it
and i secretly like the chewy layer on the outside
indicating its age

6. mosquitoes thighfeasting while we
lick around the scoops of
homemade ice cream on metal  sidewalk chairs
outside the pumphouse creamery

7. one of my favorite things
about the streets and alleys of minneapolis
is how the flatness
lends itself
to watching that street/alley
go on
telephonewire tangled
into infinity

8. pedaling towards elliot street
morgan shouts blog!!!
twisting the o around all the other letters in the word and

i am a coyote howling into orange streetlight sky

9. the thing is
morgan says
you can spend time on it
but you’re not really supposed to talk about it
which is a joke
about facebook

10. the wonder
of a timeline unraveling
that goes like this:
going from life-partner looking-into-having-a-kid status
10 years ago
to the present
living window-to-window
next to each other
apartment building neighbors
you with your current date
and she with hers
you
helping her and her mom plan the baby shower

11. you could make tshirts
he says
suggesting what capitalism stole from your parents
as one tag-line/option

12. first it is the life-cycle of an idea
from cutting-edge inception to overplayed gloss
then
the history of paint
the origins of color

13. we talk about what we’ve been reading
whether the global glass is half empty or half full
the kind of facism that dictates marriage and having babies
and the concept of first world problems

14. joAnn and i joke
about how we are the same person
and on a rare rare moon
(like once every two years
or three)
we split
become two
we play it off like i am visiting
but really it is the one time we peel apart
something like the phenomenon
of a lunar eclipse

15. what is it
about the way you say
come on now
come home
swollen-lip bruiser-face
and all