a scratch of light

winter blowing out
while summer blows in
darien says about the wind as

the six of us
fork/scrape the winter mulch from the beds
tenderize the soil
dig up the path to the right and cover it with pummies
while the weather whips up the dried leaves from the neighbors trees
and hurls them up, beyond our hair-whipped faces, into sky


even with all that wind
the burst of sun works us
down to our tshirts
in no time


rooster head
on the pebble path
near the back porch door


i don’t want to see a dog with its skin off trish says
while we trip across fallen branches in the post-dusk dark on the overgrownness called canada road
talking about the most brutal/vulnerable? part of
working with the raccoon (the skinning)


to watch lightning
as it blooms and fades and crackles across sky
over/around us
during a short loop walk
that ends just before the downpour
(there is never any part of me that doesn’t want to watch a storm roll in and out
and i rarely get to see one like this
360 degree view
while the wind shakes the trees around us
how there is some orange/pink in the dark dark sky
that only the lightning reveals
how some of the lightning lights up entire clouds
while other bolts are a scratch of light
rippling around us)


this is not death i think (the layers of paint, the variation of woodgrain, the mismatched plates and hand-thrown ceramic mugs, the patterns of dirt dried on the garden tools before scraping and all the other visual textures that sandhill farm life is constructed of)
in contrast to the previous thought i had  (that was a death)  (upon recalling the flat officey carpet in the room poetry readings were sometimes held and the plastic purple-padded chairs which were most likely made in prison that filled aforementioned room, the aforementioned room’s wall of windows and set of double doors that were to remain closed and the view of the  concrete courtyard filled with ferns that have most likely never seen a rainforest. perhaps the only variation in the aforementioned room: two gigantic potted plants i simultaneously wanted to liberate and never wanted to look at again)
sometimes it is impossible to believe i live in a world
where $246 rolls of toilet paper exist (and are used)
while, without sounding cliche, folks live on the street and are criminalized for it
and people are dying because they don’t have access to/can’t afford to eat
opulence at its sickest

a. – voice of america, day in photos

and we feast

two bows
eight arrows
i prefer the beginner i say
pull back and and aim for the bullseye


emory and i
brick-build a pseudo stove
in the south west corner
we keep the brick stacks from toppling
by placing the mortar-lumped ones
on top


first gardenwalk of the season
i find the missing green/white arrow
in what was once the
rutabaga bed


we got this one
i tell my team-mates
on this impossibly windy day for frisbee


joe sets the cooling rack of
pecan shortbread (made with oat flour) cookies
in the center of the table
and we feast


darien unpacks mugs and we oooh and ahhh
at the jug-like shape with lip around the top edge

post dinner jaunt we spot a woodcock
spinning its sky dance


the night is just a sky full of sound
(spring peepers chorusing around the ponds)

some ways the day looked:

IMG_2294 IMG_2310 IMG_2313 IMG_2321

six red tickets

rainwet morning
how the moisture turns the wood in the stacks more orangey
brings out the yellows and browns in the winter gray
infuses the air with a balm
and brings me home (pacific northwest)

how much mica and i
both appreciate the fact that
her thera-putty (green)
matches my puffy vest (green)
neither of us say so
until after the fact


candy thermometer clipped to dutch oven
so that the oil doesn’t rise past 350°
while i drop batches of breaded rings of onion
in to sizzle and bob


cookshift playlist:
pj harvey (two albums: white chalk
let england shake)
timmy straw
perfume genius
nina simone


six red tickets on the cutting board
placed by stan
for the admittance to tonight’s big thing:
renay’s debut in the memphis high school play
one mad night


the taste of tic tacs on our tongues
as we whip around corners and
cruise over bridges
something about that sweet/vanilla before the mint hits
reminds me of childhood i say to trish who says
i would entertain myself for hours
filling those containers with water and
drinking out of them


this is definitely going into the details
trish says as we unpack ourselves from zoe’s minivan
though i can’t remember now what she was referring to
(perhaps the mini plume of smoke/dust
that rose from the pearl magnets
when they slammed together)


a single rumble of thunder
i say at the concession stand
where trish and i each put in a dollar
and walk away with starburst and rolos


offering trish the last chocolate-caramel delight
in the seats gigi saved with homemade reserved signs
printed on once-used paper
solo rolo? i say
from the water world:

A squash seller transports his wares to market in Fafamau village near Allahabad, India Picture: SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP

Riot police officers scuffle with visually-impaired protesters, threatening to set themselves on fire during a protest against a hiring freeze in the public sector, blocking a main street in Rabat, Morocco. – reuters

Oil spill response crews remove oil absorbent material placed on the beach between Stewart Beach and East Beach in Galveston, Texas. The material was placed on the stretch of beach as a precaution as cleanup continues after 168,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil spilled in to Galveston Bay. – the hindu

The muddied waters of the dammed North Fork Stillaguamish River mix with the cleaner South Fork flow in Arlington within Snohomish County, Washington. At least 25 people are known to have died when a colossal mudslide occurred unleashing a wall of earth that destroyed dozens of homes. – the hindu


the fields that flame took

sometimes the law of the trainbridge
is to wait until you can no longer stand it
(because of the cold, usually, or sometimes the boredom)
and then, after you decide upon leaving
and are headed somewhere else
you hear that whistle and rumble in the distance
rolling closer


it’s a swirl from zimmermans
not a blizzard from d.q.
which seems very important
in the interest of not letting one’s expectations
get in the way of joy


candy shell coating clicks against candy shell coating
one reese’s pieces jostled against another against another
inside a white paper bag
marked 1.98 per pound in ball point


the black of burn
and trish, emory and i walking through it
(the fields that flame took
in a controlled-burn kind of way)

how the other day
may said
something about wanting to watch it all go up
it (the fire)  she said moves in a line, always

each decision leaning on the other
i say (thinking of dominoes in a circle)
about the should-i-stay-or-should-i-go uncertainties
of a little ruckus show in kirksville


spooky is the word i use
though i think i meant spirited
as mica holds the karma door for me post-dinner
describing the wind and the way it moves through/around us
stirring energy up from pockets of stillness

linus shows me the shiny smashed penny
(with the wind and the curve that the train comes around
there wasn’t much time between us on the tracks
and the train)
and i tell  him about granola’s crooked tail

from the water world:

Oil spill response contractors clean up crude oil on a beach after a BP oil spill on Lake Michigan in Whiting, Indiana.

Screen shot 2014-03-27 at 12.06.53 AM
A man removes stones from the river as he pans for gold in Lampang, Thailand. Villagers from Wang Nuea look for gold in the river every year during the drought season. They make about $15 (£9) per day. – bbc news, day in photos

People fish on a pier at the port of Mariupol, located on the north of the Sea of Azov in eastern Ukraine. – voice of america, day in photos

Palestinian fishermen inspect their destroyed fishing boat close to the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. Two Palestinians were wounded when Israeli navy vessels destroyed two Gaza-bound boats smuggling cigarettes and tobacco from Egypt. Picture: SAID KHATIB/AFP

quarter moon

sky still dark
quarter moon hanging in just the right patch of window
that i can trace its arc
across the night/morning sky

tyler at the karma table
plucking tiny pepper plants from a flat of compost
and transplanting into soil blocks

swirling around in afternoon sun
and yes, it is almost the end of march


emory in his new glow-in-the-dark dinosaur shirt
dumps the crumpled white paper bag of birthday party candy
on the kitchen table
you can have two he says
as we chew the starburst together
and then
offers another
so we chew the same flavor at the same time as it changes
and then offers another
and by the time we get to the tootsie rolls
which he also calls a jawbreaker
i tell him i’ve hit my limit


dancing rabbit potluck delights:
deviled eggs (that’s not paprika sprinkled on top, that’s cajun seasoning)
date bars (made with bad dates, hey – i’ve been on a few of those)


a pathway
from the chair to the television
and a pathway cleared
for walking into the room
is how they both describe
the state of their parents or parent-in-laws houses


linus in the back
carseat in the middle
hand held over eyes
on the ride home

chasing fire

in teams of two and sometimes more
we work the wiggle wire into the C-channel
and though i’ve never been to a barn raising,
the way it felt to see that gigantic sheet of plastic
pulled over the metal frame
might correspond


the booth can be anywhere you want mica and trish agree
about the magic of the photobooth app
turns out, for this round,
the booth is on the couch
where kris, mica, trish and i
crowd into the frame
laughing so hard sometimes it hurts


scribbling notes from the men and feminism book on the pinkplum futon couch
i star the part that talks about how
domestic violence and sexual assault become special women’s issues
which leaves men entirely out of the picture
a transferring of accountbility


1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup popcorn1/4 cup sugar (i feel bad using this i say
pointing out the ‘for kombucha only’ label on the container)
and a teaspoon of salt
first attempt at kettle corn
which, minus some of the not burnt but not unburnt pieces,
turns out delicious
(there’s room on the couch mica says
patting the spot between her and tyler
which is where i seat
with the metal bowl we snack out of)


linus, 2 almost 3,
in his yellow jacket and eared hat
delivering kettle corn
piece by piece
to casey


orange-pink light
but not just light
a glow
rising from the horizon
so striking it is a kind of presence
at first, i think moonrise
but i have never seen a moonrise like thatespecially over the northeast horizon
but then i remember the email
about the 40-acre burn and
mica suggests we get in the car to get close
so we (plus tyler) do

by the time we arrive
(driving through the dizzying effect of
snow in the high beams)
i joke about tailgating
we arrive in time for what remains:
humans standing guard in the dark at the fenced edge
patches of ground embers (nests of orang glow)
sprayed out by the volunteer firefighters
navigating with floodlight
though in the distance we spot another
bright burning
and we move towards it

laughing about how highschool it all feels
like doing a scoping-it-out driveby
under the cover of night
firechasing further east
and though there is adventure in the new gravel road we take
(past the dairy and across the tracks)
we were not meant to meet fire tonight

on the return-ride
tyler tells us about the email his dad just sent
about the 5 fridays, 5 saturdays and 5 sundays that august has
and the name that goes along with it

the final note:
passing the parade of volunteer fire trucks heading back to town
in the opposite direction
a kind of highway hi-five

from the water world:

Dozens of ships are in evolved in clean-up efforts to remove oil that spilled into Galveston Bay after a ship and barge collided near the Texas City dike. Photo: AP – the hindu

A house is seen destroyed after a giant landslide occurred near mile marker in Washington. At least six homes have been washed away, with three people reported dead so far and at least eighteen missing. Photo: AP – the hindu

An aerial view of the mudslide and subsequent backup of the Stillaguamish river between Darrington and Arlington, Washington. – the telegraph

A donkey belonging to an Afghan refugee family whose mud house was destroyed by the Capital Development Authority for being built on illegal lands, shelters itself from rain under a wooden-cart in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan. – voice of america, day in photos

Volunteers carry the body of a youth after a boat carrying mostly Congolese refugees returning home capsized at the shores of Lake Albert in Ntoroko district in Western Uganda. Hundreds are feared dead.  – reuters

Police use a water cannon to disperse a demonstrator during a protest against a trade pact with mainland China, near Taiwan’s government headquarters in Taipei, March 24, 2014.  – reuters




we roll through

cookies! for breakfast!? i declare/ask
in response to the wax-paper lined tray
with last night’s peanut/almond (flat and chewy = delicious) chocolate chip cookies
on the butcher block


the look on my face
when rya asks
if i am still a practicing catholic
(and the appreciation
for assumptions not being made/questions asked)
while we roll through the missouri hills
blonde-stubble fields flanking us
under an overexposed sky


five of us
move like machinery
(but warmer, with more unpredicability and nuance)
through the studio
developing a rhythm:
roll ink onto the block
place it on the press (next to others if the timing aligns) with the print paper and newsprint on top and
put carefully to bed under three wool blankets
roll through by turning the crank and catch the bed  on the other side so it doesn’t slam
extracting the blocks and the prints from the bed
and placing them in the proper row of in-progress decks
on the table


you just gotta hit it i tell tia
who takes a turn at the collective story writing
on the royal quiet deluxe
while we remember
word processors
typewriters with the ball of letters instead of the keys
the machines we learned to type on

i am the beginning
and the end
kris says
behind the typewriter at the hexagonal table