if everyday began

if everyday began like this i say
to F, christina and thomas seated around me
our books splayed our drinks sweating
sometimes we speak, sometimes we read
i go on to add something about the ocean
how the day should begin with the ocean first
then this

_______

first, the non-alcoholic aperitif by the name of crodino
amber-orange we joke about arsenic and then
the references to the watered-down water

_______

at the thai place
cat with her mad fish
be with my art salad
and devonne with his tam kha
we pose for a strangely arranged restaurant/table photo
and then laugh with those at the table kitty corner from us who agreed to take the photo
this is goodbye #3 (if you add this one to the one with thomas earlier and the goodbye with wayne which i didn’t even realize was a goodbye which took place whenever the last tlime i saw him – which i think was the in lak’ech

______

in from the water world:

4556FEF4-9BB2-4495-9A10-6705C9C91BD1_w974_n_s

A barber shaves a customer in his temporary shop alongside a water-logged street in Kolkata, India.
– voice of america, day in photos

_______

fozzy-bearish puppet on shannons hand
on my skype screen reporting
live from quito
it is when i tell her i miss her
knowing we will be same-space/timing it
that the tears gather but only half spill over

we discuss the dissolving

first there is yoga
without music
where i get angry when we are asked to close our eyes in tree pose
because it’s like sacrificing one of the poses that i can nail with satisfaction
for something swaying and faltering and not made of deep breaths but a constant catching

then log pose
(a new favorite)
third in a series of hip openers
(pigeon being the second and i don’t recall the first)

sweat shining at my wrists
slowly rolling down my forehead
soaking through cotton of my un-yoga pants at my ankles

_______

then there is a grand reunion at the best coffee place in town where
as one more day in a series of warm days (77 in the shade but must be something like high 80s or low 90s in the sun), everything is iced
including the chai i suck down through a straw

at this reunion, we discuss how rachel jeantel’s approach to narrative
does not fit in the court’s format for narrative
which is kindof like a fuckyou to the justice system

we discuss the dissolving tenure-track teaching positions
and that whole thing about soldiers being thanked for their service
(and how i respond: ok, thank them, but have them thank you right back for serving people food or cleaning their toilets or whatever the work is that you do)

we discuss what we’re working on and where we’re headed

hours later, on c & f’s balcony, it looks a little like this

1048410_10101679841600794_1278831854_o

kindof maybe a goodbye for a little while

which leads to this:

IMG_9750

the packing of the first boxes

_______

unnamed phenomenon:
how knowing you are moving away from a city soon shifts your perspective, allows you to see what you may not have been able to before, sparks a surprise sadness, unrolls a golden glow which comes from everywhere

grass sound

sweetgrass sundrying day #2
how the drier it gets the sweeter and stronger its scent
_______

a post-modern moment from the zimmerman trial
(as in zimmerman, the man who shot trayvon martin)
you said you heard a grass sound, could you tell me how grass sounds?
a wet grass sound, what does wet grass sound like?

also, if it hasn’t happened already
i foresee a creepy ass cracker meme coming on

_______

image from the water world

1372399367__68421192_68421190

Police and protesters clashed in the Chilean capital Santiago following demonstrations calling for educational reform.  – week in pictures, bbc

_______

this neighborhood (can i call it mine after living in it for only seven months?)
on a friday night during the days when the heat is picking up
and the yard or park or sidewalk may be cooler than the bedroom or living room
means this place is a thing of aliveness
what that sounds like: crickets mixed with parking lot laughs and front yard shouts and voices drifting out from bedrooms and living rooms as i walk past, the chanting singing of some kind of game rising from teens circled outside a church, stroller wheels clicking on cracks of sidewalk, adult yelling red! green! to a hoard of kids on bikes next to the schoolyard, car windows rolled down apartment windows flung open and music/tv audio spilling out, vietnamese and spanish and english (and maybe other languages as well) filling front yards and driveways

from the park on the hill which is about a half mile from my house
instead of a view of the sun setting
the view is rows of apartments in front of where the sun dips down

_______

the difference between a southern californian and someone who grew up in the midwest:
the southern californian calls this day hot
while i call it warm and am tempted to say things about humidity and mosquitoes
(grateful for the sweat, the sunspill, the way the dining room curtains filter the light while i
slice ribbons of red cabbage, chop green beans, shred carrots, soak lettuce, press tofu between two cuttingboards, heat the burner to medium, chop garlic, slice cucumbers, chiffonade basil, whisk the dressing)

this is a punchline

this time last year
dezi and i were mod podging black and white hummingbirds (sometimes 25 times their actual size)
onto a green minivan mostly known as the zinemobile
we were doing this in the sun on texas street in front of the house name sometimes the roost and other times the tofu block
we were rearranging the stuff in the back to accommodate my backpacks
we were beginning
_______

jen asks me to help her back the airstream into the driveway and
while i can yell about being too close or to far to a parked car or the fence
i have no idea how to maneuver that thing and neither does she and eventually
half the neighborhood is helping out (well, ok, three men from our block)
surely this is a punchline to a
how many ______ does it take to back an airstream trailer into a driveway joke
(the blank because i don’t know what you would call us)
when it is over we hug and/or shake hands
_______

six stalks of sweetgrass snipped
at the base and braided together
set out in sun the sweetness
_______

sdge man dangling from the electrical pole out my backwindow
i try to take photos of him holding on against the almost tooblue sky
orange something wrapped around wires
i watch for at least five minutes and note: the way he clips and unclips his harness as he moves up the pole
the sunheat and how his job involves him climbing up into it
the things that look like mini sandbags hanging from his belt
the gloves he slides and and yet he is still nimble with the clippers snipping wires so they poke out like hair that is cut too short
this looking, this i-could-watch-forever reminds me how i have always been interested in
how things are made
(the mockingbird crib-hanging thing that played music when you pulled the string. i took it apart and put it back together again, i remember a cool basement floor and a toolbench too tall. when someone mentions a school or a program, i want to know how they got in, what the process was like, what they are doing there. in co-counseling, we look at patterns. we talk about how they are often formed early in. how these ripple out into our lives.)
i want to bring them lemonade
but we don’t have any lemonade
and there are too many bikewheels blocking the gate to the alley
_______

william and i celebrating being in cahoots with one last session in the chateau before he shoves off
he hands me a book with an inscription
a book by the same author of another book with an inscription that lives in my library
i ‘read’ this book before as a book-on-tape unravelling in a mazda heading east on the i-90/i-94
but it was during a cross-country roadtrip summer breakup tour
which means the words ran through me
(water through a sieve)
and i don’t remember a thing
_______

i don’t remember what the pose is named
but there we are
a whole roomful of us
balancing on one set of toes beneath us while we kneel/sit with the other leg hovering out front
and i also don’t remember how alyssa said it
but it was something like
when yoga is about nailing the pose
you set yourself up for a win lose situation
but when yoga is about showing up
and there you are on your mat breathing
it’s win win
_______

pinkgold clouds tossed across sky
i pedal under
and when i arrive, we race, dusk and i
no other runners on the path
i trust my feet to tell me where the stones are/n’t
it is the kind of light my mom or sisters used to walk past my room and
flip on the light switch for me in
while i read and read

i may have used the word

breakfast one: juice i squeezed from four oranges
breakfast two: mango sticky rice

_______

from yesterday’s second phone call from missouri:
if there is no desk/table, we can build one

(we have a woodshop)
she says
and i may have used the word delightful
and i certainly used the word dreamy

_______

new installation to the dear beloveds (collective poem to the universe) project
here

_______

i have a neck tremor
i tell them
and talk about involuntary vulnerability

numbing before the needle

first
the woman outside the bathroom at the dentist office says
i like your vibe
meaning my outfit/style
and i check hers out and say
yours too
while she holds the door open for me
and she says something about how if she didn’t have to dress the way she does for work
she’d be dressing like me
later
on the bikeride home while powering up the second
of two hills on a day when biking in any direction is biking against the wind
a voice lifts out from an apartment building to my right
i like your stars
meaning my tattoo
i shout back thanks
without trying to find the body attached to the voice that yelled about my stars
because all my energy is focused forward

_______

in the middle of the thai restuarant talking
about collaring and daddies and ma’ams and
post apocolyptic role plays
if you are someone’s something i ask
then is it not ok to be that same something to someone else?

_______

there is no terror like
the taking of tools to one’s teeth
even if there is numbing before the needle
even if there are conifers swaying out the window
even if the dentist is kind to his assistants and tells me every step of the way what he is doing
there is no terror like latex hands of a professional stranger working inside this most intimate space called a mouth
i understand that terror is probably not the most apt word
because there is the terror of watching your siblings, your parents bleed out before you
and that is not this kind of terror i am talking about
especially when this terror of the dental variety is a privilege that most people don’t have access to
but there is something (primal?) about teeth
something that my gut says no no no to when someone else goes in there (my mouth) with a drill or pick
which sounds like mining
which it kindof is

hours later
the machines still ring
the teeth still rattling
at least this dentist doesn’t rest the arm of the drill on my other teeth so that it vibrates through my skull
maybe that is part of it
the proximity of these enameled harder-than-bone and rooted-in-bone things
to my brain

we used to die before we outlived our teeth, now…
i say
walking west down el cajon with william in his orange-white stripes

_______

you could try again i say in the driveway
san diego nightsummer on skin
that hand in my hair made me think of some things

strata, she says, treasure chest

pot of blue bachelor buttons on back porch
watering can water
sucked up in soil and dripping out the drainage holes

_______

two incoming calls from missouri
one from sandhill farm where the sorghum grows and a room with a loft in a building named karma awaits me
one from an astrologer who talks about the promise of the next year

strata she says treasure chest
we don’t need to let go of our old relationships
we need to layer them in

it is an old partnership
she says
many lifetimes
you’ll recognize it instantly

don’t chastise yourself like you always do for not being good enough at what you do
you do this to yourself harder than most of us can begin to imagine
it makes me want to slap you out of it
you are as good as what you do as you possibly can be
you have the skills and the training

you have no idea where your life is going right now
you are centered and grounded
what happens next is still behind a veil
but no matter what it is
you are bout to get in with a really good and caring group
trust yourself to keep moving into another group
where does your ambition lie? find your own values
get clear and strong on your intentions
these will get you through the uncertainty

_______

we like to go down to the trainbridge
that or swim in the pond
that’s what we do for fun around here
she says
_______

rolling in from the water world:

29413E17-A1BD-4253-8153-319DB99D3E8B_w974_n_s

An Indian rickshaw puller bikes through the rain in Allahabad.
-day in photos, voice of america

of wailing

in the dream my sibling was head and shoulders
the rest robot
and because of this
we aren’t sure if she has actually died
because it may just be a machine malfunction
but i howl anyway
eclipse the dream with it
a saturation of wailing
the grief is space and the space is filled with sound
and the sound is damp and salted

_______

there must be a word for the laundry line days
how clipping damp clothes up under the spilling sun
is one of the most content/satisfying feelings

 _______

when corinne asks how the full moon is treating me i tell her
i feel free
and wistful
and the wave of overwhelm/stress regarding the move has
not yest creste
d
_______

because of technical difficulties
our beginning viewings of the stolen seas is all sound
after it ends the three of us decide we have to go somewhere
so we can ask all the questions it left us with
and admire all the twist-turns it took us on and
sift through the information it disseminated
the somewhere is where we eat pies
two peach pieces and one apple
niether warmed and
neither a la mode

_______

what i don’t understand is why the companies would care so much
about the hostages
(because when you look at the way other companies treat other
cheap-deal employees…)
is it a public image thing?

_______

what are you going to do with your library?
jonathan washington, whom i just met in the theater, asks

i’m going to pack it up
put it in storage
i say
except for a small selection i will be bringing with
and i like how we don’t know each other

but because we are both writers
he assumes the part about me having a library
and while i imagine mine is more sparse/pared down than his
his assumption is still correct

_______

granger tells a patched-together history of cedar (the mutt rescue dog)
based on the things cedar is afraid of
including any kind of stick
and also things that resemble sticks
like, for instance,  a french baguette  loaf

_______

william says sousaphone
brass boa constrictor
he calls it

and i feel beige carpet under my feet muffling sound
think about how it felt to be handed a key to a house i didn’t live in
remember hanging cardboard clouds and scattering red petals
remember the places where the floor under the thick carpet squeaked
can smell the oak moss, the vetiver in the entryway
can remember the way warm skin does something like change the chemical makeup of these oils
so that it smells different on your neck than it does in the doorway

 

we don’t call it the sea

i don’t wanna pass out at the sight of my own blood
jen says
while she takes one pantsleg down
and i examine the knee-spot damage
assessing: it doesn’t look bad
(what i don’t say is how i want to remove that thick scrap of skin
hanging off the bottom of the round bleeding patch)
i think about fingernail clippers
i pour out water from my bottle
i declare the need for bandages and anti-bacterial first aid spray

the walgreens cashier’s nametag displays the name frankie
in black on white

and i am so delighted
but i keep the secret of our mutual what-we-are-called-ness
to myself

______

third times a charm? i say/ask
after the second rider takes a  (bloody) fall off the banana seat bike
which stands up well
its blue sears roebuck original paintjob unscratched
it should have a name i say from the backseat
so-cal sun and freeway air blasting in the windows
somehow we arrive at the blue bruiser-cruiser
and it sticks
not only does it stick but every time we say it we laugh

_______

unnamed phenomenon:
the span of time between the occurrence of a lightly traumatic event or mishap and the moment that this event has lost enough of its trauma that it becomes re-tellable and often something to laugh at

_______

a line of princesses and medieval warriors
at poinsettia park
orient themselves towards the pinkpurple butterfly piñatata
something about the snow-white dressed one
thwacking at a cartoony butterfly
with a stick

_______

something about the sea and how we don’t call it the sea on the west coast
something about the ocean and that pre-sunset light
how the water is warmer than it has been all week but the waves are shore-crashing
which means i don’t go out far but i stay in for a long timejust before the clouds roll over the sun
rays spilling out tiny pockets
means they sky is a reaching of rays
like all the sun/sky photos i’ve ever seen used to depict god
watching is a way of learning
i say
and how i could watch the surfers all day one day
then be one all day the next day

their humanness and my tiny

there are some things about this morning like
waking up next to my niecephew in a beachish house
his sleep/peace face
his crisscrossed arms
how last night his palm was pressed into his nose/mouth
so that the breath was difficult to get at
how i remember a slumber party like this a few summers ago
only it was all four of them
and how i floated on their sleepbreath sea
wishing that they would never know
the shredded heart grief i did at those moments
but considering everything that those moments have brought/taught me
i would never want to deny them their own suffering
(something like something that pema chodron wrote/said once)

_______

sunglasses turning coastlight gold
it is a strange way to depart
shuffling down an alley
along the bay
waving goodbye to packed up cars

_______

how not enough sleep sands me down
to tearing up about strangers on the bus
their humanness and my tiny glances into it
man in the backseat giving a bit of a local history lesson
another man in an orange cubscout shirt stands up to let the woman in purple
know where to step off and transfer
and the man in a red suitcoat (which looks polka dotted from a distance) who could have stepepd out of that one solange video
leans down to a spot on the bus floor he can barely reach in order to pick up something
the woman deboarding dropped
and the woman nods and thanks him with a wide smile one time before the bus takes off
and two times through the window after it slowly pulls out from its stop spot
if i can love these strangers so deeply without ever knowing them then why

_______

when spoken words don’t seem adequate enough
i tell myself i will send cards
and i think about this on the hour and a half journey home
how i don’t remember always being this inadequate at speaking
but now, it has become like one of those movies
where you (the viewer) just want the main character to step forward
and say something (like bjork’s character in dancer in the dark)
instead of carry it inside themselves
_______

kaya calls it a cabbage salad
because it is not your typical cole slaw
(cabbage + carrots + beets + lentil sprouts + slaw dressing)

_______

9:55pm i can hear the seaworld fireworks from here
and from now on
and everynight after
this sound will carry me to the bay
with its shallow nightdivers
(headlamps illuminating the blue/greenness of the water)
and rocks shaped for lounging
and half a million this or that questions
with a niecephew at my side

_______

it seems suitable that on this longest day
i refuse myself a nap
as if to absorb every molecule of light