charvey up on his hind legs
silent but forceful
i guess this is what leash aggressive means
dezi says 


seagull greywhite matching
sky greywhite
icelake surface wetsmooth
sometimes air can be empty and sometimes it can be full
this time it is lyered
with geese sounds
moving across frozen water


we drive past the tenney park ice rink
which isn’t really a rink but a pond/lake
filled with snowsuited kids and grownups gliding along on laced up boots attaced to blades
what is amazing is i pass it at least four times today
and each time (including 9pm)
the skaters are still skating
and this is one thing
i’d like to show people who are getting to know me
this is one place i’d like to take them
so i could point
my breath a small cloud rising
and say see
this is what i am made of

this blue

there is no word
for the blue of this sky
against the thick white of snow piled on deep green needles
twiggy branches
highway signs
something about stratificaion
and how we move through it
eastbound on the i-94 at

70 miles an hour


after the wafting of frankincense and before the gathering around a table of red and green cookies
we talk about guns
and i articulate it like this:
when i think about survival
i think about knowing how to grow food
where to gather clean water
discerning between edible and poisonous wilds plants
not about who’s going to come after me and my stuff with a gun
and therefore why i should have a gun in response
it’s more of an offense kind of thing
i say
not defense


car-cold brach’s chewy peppermint tree candy
warming/melting under my teeth

some things never change
(this is where i want to tell you about one xmas
i must have been 9 or 10
this was back when people still lined their driveways in our neighborhood
with luminaria
[paper bag, sand on the bottom, candle placed inside and lit]
on our way home from midnight mass
[white cotton gloves grasping brass bell choir bells by their black plastic handles
how warm sound can fill a cold space]
pulling into the driveway
tiny stockings with each of our names
hung in the bare birch branches
candy filled)
something about how just the right secrets and sneaking around
become magic

empty (except us)

we visit several places that make this city livable:
the riverwest co-op
and woodland pattern bookstore
the difference between the two being 25 years
(how to balance the weight of
pre and post gentrification
with the 30 year old bookstore on one end
and the 10 year old co-op on the other)

a dinner of go-arounds
in an empty (except us) restuarant
it begins when dad leans in and says
tell me about yourself. who are you really?

we pass around the plum wine
the eggrolls
the herbed tofu and peanut sauce
the vietnamese coffee

these nights when chris drives me back to 15305 doverhill lane
it’s not about getting there
it’s about what we say on the way

for all the educators

one day, will you just write
rob is cool”  ?
he asks
in reference to the detail collector

he being my brother in law
for one
a ridiculously funny and sweet human
for two
and a middle school teacher
for three

of course
i respond, laughing

and i can set it up so that your name links to…

to my class webpage
he says
which, up until this point, i never bothered to ask if he had a webpage for his class
much less considered it
because sometimes, weird things don’t transfer from 22 years ago
and what i mean by that is
22 years ago, the internet didn’t really exist
but rob was teaching then
and sometimes i forget to update things
(like, one who taught 22 years ago is not teaching in the past
but in the present
which is pretty much the future
and therefore
there’s a good chance that that  one has a class webpage)

and so here it is
an ode
not only to rob
teacher in greendale, wisconsin for 22 years
but to all the educators in my life
(shannon, brooke, chane, emil, kernan, 217, macon, meg day, wayne, renee, a.m., and beyond)
in case i’ve never told you in person
are some of the people i have the maddest respect for
and tonight you receive
the brilliant heart award of planet earth

down the night hall

like a nurse pressing a plastic thermometer under a patient’s tongue
dad presses the moisture-meter into the kitchen table plant
before allotting it a small stream from plastic maroon watering can
sound of soil sucking it up
a kind of rice-crispy snap crackle pop
as he retreats, shuffling down the night hall

meet you under the moon

dear readers,

tomorrow i hop on a plane for the midcoast- to a suburb west of a city which lies along the shore of a great lake.

the itinerary for my time away looks like this:milwaukee/new berlin, wi
madison, wi
carbondale, il
smithville, tn
st. louis, mo
return to sandy eggo

it’s been a rough quarter. perhaps the roughest of my grad school career:
•a forced move out of an established collective house (read: dealing with all the accumulated shit other people left behind) into another one
•spiraling health (three week sinus infection followed by several weeks of physical wellness [dotted with mental unwellness] followed by over a week [and counting] of some other infection the doc called group c strep)
•straddling the strange divide between ethnic studies and literature phds
•off-the-radarness of pdx family due to gigantic transitions of their own
•finals week grading meltdown hell
(it is strange though, to compare struggle to struggle and say that one struggle was bigger or more difficult-because it is all struggle, just different varieties).
on the other hand:
•the new house and new neighborhood feel so good, we are becoming family. (i could never arrive at this in the old space, partly because it was an inherited collective rather than one i helped create, and partly because the physical space itself was too cramped to breathe in and too filled with accumulations of stuff to enjoy).

•i finished several submissions for residency applications, which is especially wonderful since just getting schoolwork done this quarter was impossible.
•i have been practicing saying yes.

all this is to really say: i’m so fucking glad that quarter is over. and i’m so delighted to be reconnecting with scattered family. and to be in motion. momentum brings light. openness. life. i am offering my entire body to it. i am ready.

and all that is to say, while i’m jet-setting around, i can’t guarantee staying on top of all things blog-like. i forsee some entry gaps in the next three weeks. so please, in the days when the posts don’t come, take the non-entries as a signal to breathe deep, get warm and stay gold.

and to the future:
i’ll meet you under the moon with my backpack on. don’t be surprised if i’m wearing sequins.

and to whoever is reading this right now: it is love but it is more complicated, and i am wrapping it in gold thread. some to keep for myself and some to gift to you/your altar/your bones/your blood/your heart.




half the definition

coffeeshop seated
two tables over
one man quizzes another
based on what i hear, i can’t tell if they’re studying for cop school or talking about a video game
then i pick up on the military edge
overheard text bits below:
they need someone telling them what they’re allowed to do/what they should do.
you’re sitting on watch and nothing happens when you expect something to happen.
u.s. fleet forces offer great coverage.
pepper spray? no, pepper spray won’t stop him. you need to stop him. shoot him.
half the definition of ‘clear line of sight’.
what kind of targets will you be firing at?
how do you fire at a watercraft?
last available terminating attempt.
we need to have tried the flares.
warning shots.
if i was standing
security alert
forced protection
the way you memorize those
access alarm goes off
radios to security alert
alert to higher ability

it’s not that i’m not

sun bright
air cool
i pedal into the wind
towards a table of friends
and the steam that rises from their morning drinks
f, christ, t-square and lester
if i could begin every saturday like this
i would
and i’d like to know
i could find you all
or some other poets/writers/makers of things/thinkers
at any moment
if i walked past the right cafe
(which would be in the 60s
and in black and white
and has been the thing i’ve hungered here for
since the beginning)


tossing itself off of the surface of
rooibos tea
onto f’s face


a storm of sexy santas
surging down the sidewalk
oh san diego


edmundo brings us fresh horchata
chocolate cake
none of which appear on our bill


it’s not that i’m not listening/watching/paying attention
it’s firstly that this sickness is a kind of film
that blurs my connections with people
and also undoes any focus i once had
it’s secondly because there is almost too much to touch
but perhaps we might start here:

Dutch animal rescuers have given up hope of saving a humpback whale stranded on an island after a final attempt to pull it to sea failed. -bbc day in photos

or here:

Scuffles broke out in the Ukraine parliament for a second day, following controversial elections in October. Members of the opposition rushed to the main podium as a vote on the ruling Party of Regions’ nomination for speaker was about to be announced. – bbc day in photos

or here:


A typhoon survivor waits for relief supplies in Osmena town, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines, five days after the year’s strongest typhoon -Typhoon Bopha – killed 540 people. (Reuters)

or here:


Union members from around the country rally at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing to protest the vote on Right-to-Work legislation.  (AFP)

or here:


Egyptian boys sit in front of graffiti and Arabic, bottom. that reads, ‘regime you are afraid of a paint brush and a pen,’ in Tahrir Square in Cairo. The Egyptian military assumed joint responsibility with police for security and protecting state institutions until the results of a Dec. 15 constitutional referendum are announced. (AP)