meditate through the cow

but we won’t be there
as sandhill farm mica says
to the sorghum customer on the phone
who will meet us at the fairfield farmers market
we’ll bet here as a poet under a tent


the wily cow
who halted traffic
on the highway
while his/her rookie keepers
chased it about
the idling engines

i couldn’t meditate through the cow
cynthia says later about
how she was meditating in the front seat
but paused and resumed
because of the cow excitement

me wearing a too-small pegasus costume
(which means i tuck my head
into its head like a hood and
the rest of its body drapes down
along my back
instead of me climbing inside
and zipping it up)
perched at the typewriter on the table
awaiting the first customer

it’s the one on the right mica says
about the warm beverage-snack she
delivered to me at my typewriter station
(hot chocolate)

ed chomping on an apple
who asks for a poem about
awakening and claudia
who asks for the poem
about the woods and says
that the four-leaf clovers signal her


too cold for ice cream i say
but we each grab a halloween goodie
from the natural foods store pumpkins
on our way out the door


i haven’t experienced that
kind of religion james writes about
reading juliana spahr’s this connection
of everyone with lungs on the beach
outloud to himself and choking up every
five minutes bookended by a
pacific ocean dip

sounds of pet cemetery
drifting in from karma living room
where cynthia holds tyler tight by the arm

and a bowl of popcorn is placed
on either couch
and some people are disturbed/terrified
and some people aren’t scared enough


the crinkle of the pastry bag as i
unwrap the pink-iced sugar cookie
and nibble

this is what 40 looks like

in brunch circle
sarah says she can feel growth when she
is in my presence and alline
who made the sweet small chocolate cake
with meringue ghosts (which made me swoon
with memory of my mama’s witchy ghosty cakes
complete with colored coconut and licorice strings
for hair) lets the tears do the talking about
generosity and encouragement
around words and writing and
trish says sisterhood and ted says
team spirit and joseph says cackle and baigz says this
gesturing to look around at all the fabulousness
(in sequins and other finery) i have summoned to surround us with
and mica and june both say things
that i now forget
but perhaps mica will help me remember


trish and baigz on horns
and cynthia on mobile sound system
(boom box strapped to bike rack)
ty and mica and i bedecked in dazzles
and furriness and all the sound and color and
movement makes us feel like
we are in a music video
pedaling across the panorama
of corn stubble fields against
baby bright sky blue
with autumn leafed treelines
in the background


something about how we follow the curves
and rise and fall of the land and
take layers off under sun and
put layers on under cloud and
the way that such simple food
tastes like the best thing on the planet
as we sit there on the ground
eating our cheese pretzel pear/apple feast
after 20-some miles of pedaling


on our first pass across the fabius
we pull over and walk down to the banks
cynthia hands each of us
drawings of comets and
a pencil and we write
about the ephemeral now

on our second pass
mica pins the brave heart badge
to my sash
and talks about witnessing me
taking risks and watching me as
i puzzle and figure out
and she says how these waters
hold the heartbreak
the shine of trying
and we hug with jewels in our eyes and
when we bike away from our stopover
the cold of the wind on the
tears running over the rise of cheekbones
feels baptismal breaking me
into something new

the brick doorway
of what once was a building and is now nothing
in gorin i walk through saying
this is the doorway to 40

ty teaches us knockout
on the court and later
mica and trish and baigz and i
shuffle-race around the
ping pong table playing
around-the-world styles

a name for the full-body feeling
of arriving after 40 miles
of pedaling, every cell humming
a calm landing in my muscles,
skin, blood, bones
mica starfished on the grass
her bike splayed next to her

cyn on cello
trish as officiator
all the rest of fam/friends gathered
up on slater’s hill under
the great old oak
where we ritualize
the sacred union of mind body and spirit
where form the routine of ordinary life
the extraordinary is born

a grain of rice
falling out of my hair
hours after
the wedding wherein i
married the universe and
committed to ferocious self-love

at dinner circle
(over bean burgers and freedom fries and
kale and peanut butter chocolate milkshakes)
i thank everyone for letting the birthday extravaganza
commandeer our days
saying i feel full up and
how much i love to be adored on my birthday
and how much everyone took on the challenge
and brought it and now we can resume
with normal
but the epicness
does not end there because
i am presented with yet two more badges
(the loving-the-food-i-grow badge from mica
and the career badge from baigz)
and then the spanking-with-ping-pong-paddles
ritual ensues and
baigz and trish and em
play/sing a song (banjo, guitar, trombone)
they wrote for/about
me which includes a chorus of: type type type type type
(typewriter clack-a-lack)

and the line about transformation
lifted from the detail collector
and all the love is so palpable
i could swim through the sea of it
unable to ever make it through
the great expanse to
the other end

honna and i
bed-warming as i read
byrd baylor’s the table where rich people sit
and how grateful i am
for this warmth-sharing and this
older-than-10-years friendship
that began at a collective café
fondly nicknamed trainwreck

through the lattice

hum of machinated harvest
off to the west
heard from hoophouse while i water
the baby greens and harvest
what might be the last bountiful
round of sungold cherry tomatoes

distant treeline seen
through bared branches
all that orange-gold against gray-blue
just before the last glints of light
glow in from the west


really, the skill is recovery he says
talking about how when we get
knocked of our bodies,
allowing ourselves to get knocked out and
then practicing and knowing
how to land back in
muscle memory


the rhythm of drilling screw after screw
in reverse as we take apart
the privy ramp/deck
made of wood soft as
decayed forest floor


strawflowers still
color-bursting into bloom
despite the night-freezes
how i clip them before
ripping their strong green stalks
from the beds


cat-ifying the garden shed
i add a plank that leads in from
glass-less window pane

trish offering a spatula-lick of
molten chocolate pre-birthday cake
chocolatey and cardamom
and then somehow we get to laughing
our asses off about
about the hike around that quilatoa crater
and how surely she hated me
and how comical it is to imagine
me dragging all that childhood baggage around the rim and
what a monster i was when it came to sharing covers

mica and cynthia arrive in
shades-of-blue face paint(powder)
post-pre-dinner dance party


shuffling through costume box
to try on variation after dress-up variation
of sequined things and
gold things and fedora things and
leather vest things
for tomorrow’s birthday extravanganza

walking across driveway and
the molten moon careens into view
through the lattice of tree branches
coppery and gigantic
lifting up off horizon

in your life, everything has a home

the thing about waiting
with a bike and knowing
the route your ride is coming from
is that you don’t actually have to wait
you can pedal
you can roll
and in this pedaling
you discover that
even with the rainwet ground
and the packed panniers
you can still make it up the hill
while the drizzles mist across
the curve of your cheeks
your forehead
not only that but
you realize you didn’t
really need to be picked up after all
because the rain is really only a mist

and you remember
how for nine years
you biked year-round
in the pacific northwest
to get from anywhere you were
to anywhere you needed to be
and 6 out of 10 times
it was raining

(and always this traveling made easy
by pavement
by bike lanes
by the sun that eventually comes back out
in the summer)

trish talks about tapping
into the stored memory
of piano-playing while i
am stymied with the
red thread in the needle
tugged through paper by my hand
when my body/fingers don’t remember
how to knot/complete
this saddle stitch
so i fake it the first time
but get there the second

it might just be
about going into the cold
going into the dark
i say in reference to the
upcoming birthday ride
and i am not alone
in seeing that
while we are talking about the weather
we are also not talking about the weather at all

how as you said
in your life
everything has a home
stan says in the tea-light glimmerings
of dinner circle
and there is something about the power
of hearing something i said
only hours earlier and thought nothing of
repeated back to me – how it allows me to really hear it
which makes me think of
that letter i typed to max last year
and the letter he wrote back which
was housed in a hand-made envelope
with lines of my letter
spliced and rearranged
and how maybe it has to do with
my astrological sign
or my enneagram
or maybe it is the simple design
of being human: this reliance
on guides outside of myself
to illuminate/emphasize/show me

emory on a stool stirring
hot chocolate on the middle burner
(with cardamom) while
the burner to the left
simmers the garbanzo beans and
on the burner to the right:
rice coming to a boil

ephemeral animals cynthia names it
(our idea of many ridiculous ideas
of cottage industries: selling what cannot really be shipped/sent/packaged/transported/received
[for instance, the dots of light
that land on pan lid when
the glow falls through the collander holes
or the smell of sun on skin or
her lover’s touch])

and then there is the idea to
sell the barbie yurts
(when the idea of a yurt company is good
but perhaps too big an undertaking… start small)

or fuck-it buckets
(who doesn’t want to buy a 5 gallon plastic bucket

with the words fuck-it buckets stenciled on
so that they now have a place to toss
that icky interaction they had with a customer
or the nagging thoughts that won’t leave them
or how upset they still are with their parents)

or just straight-up snake oil
whose ingredients are: water

as Rilke wrote,  Let everything happen to you: beauty,
terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.
(this is me quoting rhea who is quoting rilke
in her astro-newsletter whose
subject title is: darkness is good for you)

from the water world:
A boat lies on the bottom of the Amazon River, in the city of Manaus, Brazil. A severe drought has lowered the river levels in the Amazon region, leaving isolated communities dependent on emergency aid and thousands of boats stranded on parched riverbeds. – voice of america, day in photos

we orient ourselves sunwards

my breath and meg-the-dog’s breath rising
as the sun rises
over the frosted surfaces of
grass and leaves

computer-printed sign on neon orange paper
taped to the white-painted cinderblock wall
of the basement/lower floor of the
scotland county courthouse
that reads do not talk to inmates
outside a door that doesn’t really look like a door
(some kind of metal and also
painted white
with a rectangle of
metal mesh that doesn’t really look like something
that sound could pass through
at the top)

blue wire mini-basket
on the one desk at the licensing office
with a sea of peppermints
swimming inside

alyssa, baigz and i
spooning our consolation prizes
(pharmacy ice cream)
into our mouths
while we orient ourselves
which means two of us on
the same bench of the picnic table
and one of us on the ground


snafus i call them
(them being the things
that prevent baigz and i
from procuring our licenses
which was the reason
for today’s trip to town)

a clearness to the sky
that deepens the blues and
highlights the silverness of cloud whisps and swirls and
sets the stage
to the south and west
for a small patch of rainbow
to appear

from the water world:

A SUV drives over flooded White Oak Bayou in Houston, Texas, USA. Precipitation was expected to intensify over the weekend as moisture from tropical depression Patricia, which struck the Pacific coast of Mexico as a very powerful hurricane, meets with a storm system coming from the west and over Texas
. – voice of america, day in photos

the letting-in of light

fog patches
in first peach light
hovering above the
rolls and dips of
how they move
like benevolent monsters
across the landscape
as an owl
lets out its first screech call
followed by the usual
who cooks for you sounds

the spider
that lives in the breadbox
and shuffles around
and the letting-in-of-light
every time i hinge it open
to reach for the bread
and how this spider makes me think of ryan’s spiders
and his poems in which his spiders live

rusty blackbirds
redwing blackbirds
brewers blackbirds
are a few of rachel’s suggestions
(migration season
the males usually travel in a group
and the females in a separate group
and the young ones in a third)
about my conundrum from a few weeks back
of the bird party
lifting and falling like wave
from one of the huge field trees

well cross that bridge
when we come on it
rachel and i can’t
get enough of this joke

there is a difference we agree
between the words elder
and elderly

on the other side of the couch
in a room spilled with sun
she tells me about the pain
how there is a dull base layer
and then there are sharp shooting sensations
on top of that which appear and disappear
and then there are the fevers
that fade in and out but
never break
(this is one glimpse
of lyme’s)

transformation – but not just transformation
but something about what is revealed
as the masks fall away
in the midst of the shifting i say to meadoe
about the death card

shis reviews the catalog
of frank’s birthdays
and how this is a sweet reminder
of how good it feels
to be witnessed
(there was the sing along party
where i dressed in those silver heels
and that kids shiny party dress
and we sang david bowie and queen
and laurie anderson and q lazzarus and aliah.

there was the hike to the top of a mountain
and jess was in charge of transport and hike-choosing
tbird was the magical pie maker
shiz led us in a ritual in the forest-side
and perhaps another human i’m forgetting

there was the jaunt to the coast
in max’s van
and we all carried snacks in our backpacks and
set up an altar on the chilly gray beach

there was gaudalupe mountain last year
with my whirlygigs
in which leon burnt kate’s sage
that i have been carrying for years
and shared the prayer that is for family
and played the flute
and regina and i just made ridiculous jokes
the whole time and
the views broke our hearts and
sheryl and i shared about
our people and our places and
violeta said she couldn’t
even though she powered through with her walking sticks
and revealed just how much she actually could
and manuel was also cracking some jokes
and busy not doing the workhe needed to not do at the time

then there was the
gliteratti dance party
of epic proportions
featuring dj shiz
and dj kid size
and certainly there were probably technical difficulties
but there were also the moments when
almost the whole dance floor
was down on their knees
for that erasure song and then
clapping in unison
to the like-a-prayer breakdown

and then there was the
celebration of light
in the coming dark
where i asked folks to dress up and bring
things to the altar
that had to do with light

and then there was the smashing geodes
along the breitenbush river
where we soaked our way
into my new year
in the geothermal tubs
and i lit the candle
whose heat powered the
put-putting across the
water’s surface
of the tiny metal boat
that corinne gifted me
and then there was the road trip
with jackie and paula and shiz
to vancouver bc
where we sat around a low table
and feasted on home-cooked ethiopian food
and home made lavender cookies
and everyone shared their stories
of meeting/coming to know me
jackie called me anchor

(the culinary artistry
undid me and then
the card catalog gift of
adorations filed away
in different forms
undid me again)

and there was the sorta self concsious
blanket fort tea party with
popcorn cake in the cow barn
and even though there was that
sorta self consciousness
the popcorn cake
with mini m&m’s
and way too much sugar
brought us/brought it all together)

and the whole thing is
if shiz hadn’t reminded me
i might have just thought
well – i’ve had some good birthdays
when in fact
each year
i’ve crafted
some dazzling magic
and the best part about it all
is that the magic was/is contagious

two small bowls of popcorn
(kettle corn and the usual)
in the center of the table
while the six of us
pass the line-picture-line pages
around to each other
line by line
picture by picture


in the dream
it was last minute and i was
still struggling with costume ideas
and the best i could come up with was:
a collage (but there were no magazines)
an open book (but if i just covered myself in book pages,
would people really get it)
glitter or a sequin or shiny shiny light
a hay bale

moving through gray and mist
on two wheels
pedaling on rain-softened gravel
pedaling up hills that seem
hillier than usual
pedaling against the winds
that seem to be the theme for this season


mean ride a fellow customer
at the post office that’s only open from
8:30-9am on saturdays says sweetly
about my glitter and pink covered bike
with sparkly stickered helmet hanging off
i know i say you better watch out
when you see me out there
huffin’ and puffin’ up those hills

the whistle of wind sneaking in
the unsealed edges of
closed but unlocked
kitchen window

mica and i
melany’s bag of
cheddar chips

various items of clothing
flying overhead as we
work our way systematically
through the piles of
pants shirts shorts
creatively showcased by
kim and mica
on la casa stage

patch of light
draped over the woods path
and when i look up
i find an opening in the
overhead pattern of branches
same shape as the light

rolling slow
on the green clydesdale
through prairie and woods
path illuminated
under a thin-clouded sky
by a  halo’ed moon
how i pause past the hoophouse
to take its perfect subtle roundness in
and how i pause again
on mullein hill
to do the same
only this time
with my hood down
to soak in the
still silence


everything that grows

the way the gray brings out all the
colors of grass, branch and leaves
and how the windows
frame it all as the day mists on

visual symphony of drips
syncopating their way from corrugated
slant of metal wood shed roof edge to
rain-wet ground
how mica spies the autumn olives and i
clean the branches of most i can see
and carry a palmful of astringent sweet orange-red beads
the rest of the way home
as the borrowed boot rubs
my ankle raw andhow mica plucks and snacks selectively

tall path-arching/bending grasses
transferring their droplets of gathered rain-mist wetness
onto the cotton of my clothes
that quickly absorb the gift
selfies in which we
tuck our faces into the
barrage of changing-color leaves
and maybe it’s about the photos
but maybe it’s even more about
how we make ourselves laugh
in the rise-fall of those
missouri prairie golden rollings
at the edge of the transition
where everything that grows
dies/is dying
and we are alongside it all
dying too
only at a different timing/pace

i’m leaving now before it will turn instantly dark
mica says, jar of dried apple snacks
held in her hands

crinkle of secret we miss frankie note
(black and blue ink with hearts on white paper)
tucked into the zippered pocked
of the once-ransomed now-liberated hoodie

in candlelight
listening to christa tippet interview
jean vanier who paraphrases aristotle:
…the difference between being admired and
being loved
admiring people means you
put them on pedastals
loving people means you
want to be near/with/around them

and his own words:we are very fragile in front of the future

and her words of his words:
we have our weaknesses/limitations/etc.
(that don’t all show on our bodily surfaces)
that make us recoil when they appear


and when i hear the word disarming
while i arrange my trunk and limbs
to be under as much of the stove-heated water
in the barely-filled tub
as possible,
everything comes into focus including
the vague tree silhouette/shadow
against the vaguely legible night sky
as seen from the naked and reclined position
from a window that makes this
a tub/bath with a view

thin veil of clouds drawing themselves
quickly across the swollen moon
giving the illusion of
moon racing across sky rather than
clouds swiftly drifting

hold my story

in ten minutes of sitting
my back to the east
again and again
the same vertebrae softly cracking
with each deep in-breath

passionate, introspective, conscious
and careful about every detail
in your work, your relationships and
all that you do
ami says lending me her perspective
so i can hold my story of me
up to hers towards understanding

we feel it
when you’re not here
cynthia says
post-tractor disc-ing
all my favorite things trish says
peanut butter, nuts, chocolate chips, oats, cardamom, salty, sweet
gesturing to the half eaten oven-warm
cookie [and its maker] in her hand

three dying marigolds
lined to dry on sink windowsill
their gold hue humming


at laura and penn’s door, my hand
cupped around an offering
of the best variety of apple
i’ve ever tasted
and the moonlight that illuminates
the path cut through
the tall grass home
and all the other small ways
i get to live out
house-on-the-prairie dreams

georgia (age six) wrapped in a
gray-white sheet dress looking
like a cinematic portrayal of a peasant
(the kind of peasant that, by the end of the movie,
becomes a loved-by-all, feet-on-the-ground
princess in all her unearthly beauty

i owe my dues she says i just
don’t know what or how yet

the joy of a half-gallon mason jar
so clean it holds light and shines it back
filled with filtered rainwwater and
green green sprigs
of spearmint and lemon balm
that survived the frost floating
to the top
from the water world:

In this handout photo released by Malacanang Photo Bureau (MPB) shows an aerial shot of flooded rice fields and houses due to heavy rains brought about by typhoon Koppu in central Luzon, the Philippines.
– voice of america, day in photos