give the cage-dancers my regards

sun angling through
kitchen window tossing
sequin-shine (in three shades:
silver, purple, teal) on wall
how the shine rise-falls
with breath and heartbeat rhythm

sister brittaney braunschweiger taylor
and i laughing at how i strategically
step on the sidewalk-strewn skittles wrapper
(just to make sure there are none left)

gonna light you on fire she says
about carrie brownstein proclaiming
there are no cities to love because
you ruined them all!!!


blue flame thin and
wavering in the center
of the soup-serving moat
where fried tofu and
broccoli swim
amongst soursweet tom kha broth
the piece of fuzz
he picks from the elbow
of my sweater and one of
a million running jokes
(this one about the corn-husk
doll etsy shop i run)

good luck on your travels, hobo
rolan says as we squeeze goodbye
and choreographically walk
in opposite directions
him towards the sunbird
and me towards a bike named baby

at the end of a running joke
about c.c. slaughters i say
give the cage dancers my regards

i may not have remembered chops
as your cat’s name
but i remember horseface
and how you hate tomato guts
and how you wore/wear? a gold chain
around your neck


the part of the bike lane
on denver that turns
into  a modern cobbling and
how the blinking stoplight
from a distance looks like
cop lights and how not far
beyond that the dark night waters
of the columbia river (marking where
oregon ends and washington begins) roll past

go to bed i yell
through shannon and gina’s door
where they are both
already pajama’ed and tucked in

from the water world:

Screen shot 2015-01-30 at 11.05.42 AM

A graffiti of a dead fish is pictured in part of the Jaquari reservoir, during a drought in Vargem, Sao Paulo state. Sao Paulo, Brazil’s drought-hit megacity of 20 million, has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves, officials say. – reuters

we agree on the lack of longing

silver hoops in ears
silver bands on fingers
and something silverish
about cooley’s head of
changing hair
we talk across the table
of enchantment and exploitation
(in other words: of northern new mexico)

sea-foam-colored dress-up dress
sticking out over the hump of
dinosaur tail attached to dinosaur hoodie
(fuzzy and neon green)
of six-year-oldish-looking kid

on a park bench sun drenched
i monologue about the
everybody reads portland library program
until i encounter the end
of her voicemail box


crow sounds traveling
via satellite from
pacific standard to
mountain time


we agree on the lack of longing
and how that allows roomfor so much more
i don’t know what the something is
she says but it feels like we’re
building it
up on the mesa, which is
where we’ll be she says

tastes like a gigantic serving
of yoplait gina says about
the strawberry lassi
in a pint glass
true i say


lebanese food-filled (spinach pie, baba ganoush,
lentil soup, falafel from uncle nic’s)
we howl on the street
delrious and joke-making
about a madeup character
named cooper based on the
vast and fancy establishment
we pass named cooper’s hall
COOOOOOOOP! we call out
(everybody loves that guy)


the magic that happens
when it’s the three of us
at this outdoor gear (some used) store
last time it was the
doughnut we drove back around the corner
to deliver to the cashier simply because
he was such a joy
and this time it is
a gracious cashier, one and a half hours
past closing time
taking pity on us huddled at the door
(me holding up a busted plastic buckle
alongisde my best sad face) and fetching
a new one free of change
you saw nothing he says passing it through
the cracked-open door tell nobody

vast and great / wool and sequins

a kind of whooosh
of glue smell as it hits my nose
upon entering the shoe/boot repair shop
and then neil at the counter
in his red sweatshirt lifting up
the thin sole of my
shredded heel

at the blue bike-horse
simultaneous unlocking
the man and i go back and forth
a couple times about
how damn beautiful
it is out today
and how damn good it feels
to move through that beauty


green tape which i think is a giveaway
gives way to surprise: an arlington va return address
and inside: a garment made of
two favorite things: wool and sequins
plus a rose petal tincture
it’s good for the heart macon’s handwriting explains
gina describes what happens
after i put on the sequin sweater
(belated gift from macon the scorpio sequin-twin
who carried it around for two years
before mailing it)
like this: frankie’s being all sassafras


the great midwestern sadness
says jess across the table
relaying the name for a phenomenon
related to the vast and great (implied: desolate)
monocrhomatic tundra landscapes

there is always a reason
for celebration
when chocolate fudge cake
is involved
(i think it’s mostly butter i say
with a little bit of cocoa sprinkled in
and a few grains of sugar)



heading east on i-84
shiz and i compile a
karaoke song list
including but not limited to
hang on sloopy
talking heads
wanted dead or alive
otis redding
indigo girls
lupe fiasco

two men on the
bench above
say don’t fall as we
maneuver our way to
flat-rock outcrop
for snack-sitting and
life-question conversing
at the top of angel’s rest

like that i ask
pointing to the thin cloud
drifting east past us
along river channel gorge


singing top-of-our-lungs variations
in the fantastic public bathroom acoustics
in a building near all the waterfalls
of that slide-over-here inxs song
and how hard we laugh on our walk
back to the car

renegade roots i say
(an offering of one thing i appreciate
about this community)
which quickly becomes
one of the evenings
recurring jokes

working with entire geological (emotional) layer
sometimes you find a dinosaur skull
and sometimes you don’t
but the dig is always worth it


daphna and i
admire the manes
of june and september
in the horse-lover’s 2015 calendar

steve hands me two big books
both about badass women in the 1800s
one fiction one non-
asks if i’m a reader

i see this moon she says
split in half like a
best-friend necklace
received: you and your crane
of goodness origami-ing
blushing splendor everywhere

tarp-wrapped / night-roosting

 i set myself on the
four-mile course
running along the river’s
fog-gathered valley

the woman who shows me to the
cotton jersey fabrics
compliemnts me on my shiny
rainbowheart-on-black-background tights

and i kid’s-section confess/reveal to her
(all the best clothes i say
are in the kids department)
hours later a man on sixth
wheeling his bike past as i do the
public-transportation wait
says i like your hearts
and i say thank you
chocolatemint cookie crumbs
on my mouth


wherein a man mistakes
my pita-snacking for
cigarette-smoking and reveals
he was about 
to ask to bum one from me


another version of home:
book-browsing in the aisle
amongst the water/ecology shelves

eye contact with blanket-wrapped man
on downtown building stoop
and just like those night-rides pedaling home,
encountering pods of sleepers
tarp-wrapped under the knot of
interstate bridges
tonight i cast blessings out upon
their waves of dreams

gold wrapper on red brick
shining with a slight jitter in the wind
at 6th and morrison
while the whir/whine/hum of
max trains approaches and recedes

pigeons who reveal themselves
only if you look up
silent and night-roosting in
leafless branches
above streetcar wires

gliding past alibi’s
blinking lights which harken
a remembering:
cayenne against brick wall
and against me
like a hammock i describe the moon
into the receiver as i walk curving park paths
under its cloud-hazed glow
good for holding

amongst ferns

9something a.m. gina
tells me shiz went on
a walk to the waffle cart
and is bringing something
sweet/fruity back for me
and soon we’re peeling back
the foil and wax paper
revealing cream and strawberries
tucked between warm waffle squares
in this sauna-sweat-heat
deep lung breaths
cycling in/out audible
unsure of what but something
is moving through me

steam rising from
pinked skin while i
bench-lounge under a
veiled and shining sky

faith and i amongst
ferns bursting with life-full green
following the wildwood trail where i
say something about the difference
between figuring it out

and having it all figured out
and i thank her for how she
calls some people’s children
their legacies
which explains some of the searching


taking it season by season she observes
i appreciate that


summer calling
what lauren and her friends do
ladyhugs and later in the kitchen
i ask summer

if it’s ok to give her a ladyhug
jasper and i reunioning
in a fog-filled street
a hug for all the time and space
that has passed


because it wouldn’t be portland
without a go-around
we share our names
and a rose from our day


fallow i say and fruitful
to renee, identifying
the two work seasons
of a poet


doubled over on the
fold-out chair in the corner
with gutsplitting laughter
while renee moves to and away
from applause in her
first round of affirmation
(a game that will
always make me think of
tomcat and the flyswatters
on the screened-in front porch)

the coming-together commotion

in the dream, there was no way
i was going to catch
that midnight plane
i haven’t even begun to pack
and was confusing one 24-hour segment
with another
in our last day at the foundation
mara and i both in the
huge common space both
sad for the ending and
excited about the coming-together commotion

at the intersection of
lombard and philadelphia:
man on cruiser bike
upright and whistling
a melody familiar but not
what i do recognize: it sounds hopeful


st. john’s bridge and its
institution-green aglow
against the coniferous dark
of the west hills
coming into view through
the window of the north
and west bound #4

perched in the author’s chair
facing a floor/sea of 8-9 year olds
rippling out before me
practicing how to choose
from all the me! me! me!
hands in the air
some names i learn: betta, dominic, myles
and some names i will not retain
third-grader miles
in all green
comes up to squeeze me twice
to appreciate/thank me
for coming to class
and discussing nicknames and
needlessly forcing
the word beloveds

first bath in four years
that lowering-self-into-water
almost too hot to touch
sacred moment

and then the lipgloss song
bumps out the speakers and
shiz and i trade oh-shit looks
the moment the (queer) dancefloor
becomes a place where
everything is right
in the world
where strangers feel
like family and where
joy is ebulliant and uncontainable
how shiz, lauren and i laugh our way across
the parking lot after lauren screams
at the rat-along-the-wall skittering sighting

an overlay of selves

steve in the kitchen
chopping/arranging his salad
offers me food and i say
i’m ok
until he holds out an offering
of mini chinnamon rolls
well in that case i say
and eat one
moments later, katherine
asks if i’m hungry and i say
i’m fine until
she sets some hummus and crackers
in front of me
well in that case i say

in the time of so much overhaul
i wasn’t sure the branch library
would still be here
but it is and i wrap my
hand around the door handle
that i used to wrap my hand around
on a weekly sometimes daily basis
thirteen years ago
an overlay of selves converging


danny and i in the
minivan driver/passenger seats
for a half-block cruise
singing hello everybody, so glad to see you
hello everybody, so glad to see you too
hello to frannie, so glad to see you
hello to danny, so glad to see you too

too many couches, not enough chairs i
turn the conversation into a chant/song
that danny and gunnar begin to
repeat with me
too many couches, not enough chairs!
too many couches, not enough chairs!
until all ramona (three years old) wants to do
when we stop
is to sing/hear the
too many couches song again

now i had the time of my life
i sing on the couch where
gina and shiz and i
until i started watching this movie
joking about the
events of obvious child a movie
i would not recomment
to anyone
as big as my head i explain
holding the head of danny’s
winter csa cabbage up to mine
ramona asking what the word
gigantor means

all the things i hold there

don’t tell anyone else
(meaning: other potential tea dates)
i joke with silke about
the french press of
too-strong very astringent
tea i steeped
to accompany the srpawling
snack spread
(goat gouda, apple slices, tangerine slices
hummus, rice crackers, slightly milk chocolate)

i’m a believer in staying rooted
where you’re from silke says

satellite-shuttled exclamations
about the first bald eagle sighting
of the season
(from a car just out of the canyon
on a norteño new mexico highway
to a couch
along a front window
in a living room in north portland
i don’t know where they migrate from
she says

how today’s sun
makes biking any distance in this town
from here i patch holes in my
mental map of portland

turkey soup on the stove
paula gives as a reason
for returning and we slide our glasses
of tea across the table and take
sample sips of each others’

noticing how both the woman
on her mat next to me and myself
wear a ring on chain draped down our necks
hers: wooden
mine: metal/silvery
when the yoga instructor
says shoulder girdles
i want to cry
thinking of all the things
i hold in there
she also tells us
that we are the only country
that values/desires a flat belly
as opposed to other countries
that see it as a sign of well-fedness/fertility/abundance


it’s like you’re living
outside of the matrix someone says
about my 2008 pink flip phone
that for some reason on these travels
has become a conversation piece
over and over again

scent of sandalwoody (lavender) incense
seeping under the frank’s room door
while i couch-collapse, this week’s
mania finally subsiding
in the form of full-body exhaustion

in the tune of i feel like makin love
gina, through the kitchen window,

sings i feel like yoga
referencing my classic rock
yoga-in-the-livingroom-in-underwear session