i take the fields

pinning, literally (with thumbtacks)
just-washed socks and underwear
to the bookshelf
to dry in the hot heat rising
from the woodstove

the heat/cool of the out/in of gibbous’s breath
on the inside of my wrist
and the patch of cat breath condensation
when i get up to check the rice how i
want it to stay there
rounding the bend on the road
sun spilling over everything
jack nosing under the barbed wire fences
because this is the part where the road is gravel-less
i unzip my boots
pull off my socks
and walk feeling
the sturdy and sun warmed earth
under me
how, instead of the road, i take the fields
on the final leg home and it’s like walking
through a living memory
i can hear the rustle of sorghum leaves
the voices weaving through them as we strip the cane
i can feel the late fall heat
smell the tractor exhaust
and sense the awkwardness of hiking-booted feet
ambling over the uneven fields,
i can smell the smoke that lifts
from the first prairie burn i can
see the stream of spirits
of all those
who have swung machetes out on this rise
all those who have hauled bundles of cane to the wagons
all those who couldn’t stop laughing on the back of the transplanter,
trying to keep up as the tractor picked up speed
on the little downhills
all this still humming
out here

at some point in the bowling game,
i AHEM as i’m about to send the ball
careening down the lane and
like a call and response
apple AHEMs back
and that is what becomes our lucky charm and soon
there we all are (ted, apple, june, and myself [cynthia gone already])
AHEMing before each turn and
i knock down my first strike and
other spares and strike follow and overall
things get very exciting
and ridiculous

the somewhere-between-faint-and-more-than-faint skunk smell
nestled into the fur on the top of mama cat’s head
the place where i lean in
to nuzzle


at the end of the day a mix
of blood and woodchar
nested in the cuticles
on my right hand


in sequins and a bear hat

one of my first encounters of the morning:
cynthia’s note tucked into the catfood
celebrating the last day of 41derful
in sequins and a bear hat
cynthia lets out a whoooop!  
and does a little exaggerated gyration dance
for the last cook day
ahead of us
white-gray with frost
our gloves, our sleeves, our shoulders
from tossing bundle after bundle of field-gathered sorghum stalks
into the mill
the morning after a 23degree night
scooping fingerful after fingerful
of what is normally green foam
(but today – is green icy slush)
from under the mill rollers
and licking the sweetness of this
this sorghum sno-cone off
slipping wool-socked feet out of my clogs
to hold them up to the coals dropping down from the steam boiler fire
while my body can’t help but rock
to the steam-train-sounding rhythm
as the steam and sweet sorghum-cookdown scent
swirls about
the bee dead frozen
its legs thick with pollen
stuck to the frost-killed center
of a red and white dahlia flower
in north garden
the best birthday present yet
and it’s not quite even my birthday
is lo’s news: We finally stopped the Nestlé water bottling factory in the Gorge!!!!!!!!!!!!! After almost a decade of fighting! Kate Brown, the third Oregon governor we have campaigned with hundreds of thousands of letters, many actions, etc, finally listened and stopped the water transfer!!! 
news so good
there are tears in my eyes when i read it

we think of all kinds of reasons to hi-five

the drizzle-mist that comes down for a bit

while we work our way stripping and machete-ing through field 3b

and how the mild temperature plus precipitation reminds me of the big island (hilo side) and the afternoon rains that would come in

but would never feel cold


all 285 pages of a radical existence

sealed and mailed and awaiting me

in my cubby


i almost went for rhapsody in orchid eric says

about his bowling ball selection

but instead he went for something nondescript – a plain color without a fancy name


almost spilling out of my cupped palm

a skittles rainbow

poured out from the quarter-machine

near the front door


nodding off as i write this

but slipping back into wakefulness enough to be lullabyed by

dottied in the next room singing and guitaring

a sweetest drifting off and rolling back in


how, due to my machete arm, i refrain from tossing a heavy-ass ball down the lane

but i still feel just as participatory, especially when it comes to half time

when i do my little dance in my cats-and-doughnuts leggings

careful not to step with my street shoes anywhere on the actual alley


besides strikes, we think of all kinds of reasons

to hi-five

(and this also includes the snail, the turkey, and the rocket ship)


in the backseat on our way home through the dark

emory (who normally doesn’t ask this question, and has met a fair share of genderqueers) asks whether tami who runs the bowling alley is a girl or boy

the sheen-shine

light mist landing on our costumes and instruments
as we parade out to the first sorghum field,
water cooler and machetes in tow
all the gray the day is made of
which means swinging machetes and stripping cane
without the sheen-shine of sweat
dampening layers and glistening faces
the legwork of kicking down all the foxtail
tall enough to scratch cheeks and eyeballs
how i get into the dance of it
and how i curse

dottie taking the imaginary escalator down
and paddling the imaginary canoe through
and bouncing across on the imaginary pogo stick
and doing ollies on the imaginary skateboard
through the weeds tall enough to obscure/mask and therefore help sustain the illusion


how the day in the rustling cane and leaves begins with 
the buzz of talk and laugh and by the time
we get to macheteing
it is quiet
except for the shhhhhhhhing! of blades on cane and thwack-chop of blades battling foxtail
and sometimes breath
or a cough
and certainly the sound of our own boots
on the earth below us

felt like a kind of death i say
about the place i grew up
and sharon who walks in kindof laughs at the phrase
not understanding its gravity,
not knowing the victory of me making it through


robbie’s mom’s cookies
bite size 
with little chocolate chips and coconut shreds
presented in a gallon ziploc bag

the whoosh of all that life

wooden seving bowl on the butcher block
holding a stack of still-warm nixtamelized corn tortillas
wrapped in fabric and made by dottie
no words i write (for lvnv) but quiet. and gravity. and the whoosh of all that life rushing out. 
(and later, i want to say something here about all the living, too,
and the trauma and long healing.
and i want to say things about a petition i signed about ‘no military-style war weapons in non-war zones’ and i want to rewrite that ptetition to say ‘no military-style-semiautomatic war weapons anywhere. ever.’
4.3 gravel miles later
how it feels good
to send this body out and back
running past the train bridge and alongside the dried corn and to that one vista where everything opens up and there is a pond that reflects the sky back and seriously rolling hills and all that green even in this early fall season and a black cow here and there


confetti and ¡gladyoume! the word revealed in a blue envelope
to connote the sentiment there is not yet a word for of the joy of another day with us in it
all the white dust rising off the just-graded roads
as anyone drives past
i thank tomorrows predicted rain
in advance
chain-jangling sounds of the brush hog as tyler rumbles past on one of the tractors
down underpass and out onto the back road in prep
for the harvest that approaches
the wild loud hum-buzz and the low-to-the-ground movement
of too many bees to count
swirling and lingering
around all the post-harvest fallen damson plums
on the path behind the whitehouse
in the just-mown lawn
the table set up with a cloth and candle and sage and 58 small stones
on the front porch
for the swarm of souls
whooshing out
the moonspill and moire pattern
as seen from mica’s sun room/greenhouse perch
where we sit-sway in hammock chairs
as our noodles and veggies digest

a chocolate chip cookie, tall not flat
that emory hands me and how we laugh
that it’s vert, not flat

the adjective i used

the kale plants finally
(due to cooler/wetter weather and
consistent BT application)
looking robust
deep green
large leafed
caabbage moth – free)

i don’t remember the adjective i used
but it was a word for admiring the massive roots
(not just the knot of them in the ground
but the clumps of them growing anywhere along the branches where they touched ground)
in south garden with eric
of the tomatillo plants we pull up
one at a time knocking
soil off the places
where they grabbed tight
to earth
how a monarch moving
among the blooms 
is better than a human 
singing praises
of the colors, the petal patterns
i feel like you didn’t get to be acknowledged for being as special as you are
teh voice message (inspired by ranbow season/farming season) says
sent from the pacific southwest
and while i don’t understand what it means
i take it as a hug and an arm squeeze
for a grief that sailed
long ago
the double walnut 
in john arbuckle’s palm
lucky as a wishbone
he holds it then drops it on the back road

i think i need to live with less
i tell shiz
while i imagine myself
looking out at the vast sea of
mustard to make
sorghum to ship
broekn machines to fix
weeds to pull
beds to mulch
tomatoes to process
harnesses to sew
cats to feed
numbers to be crunched
kitchen and garden inspections to prepare for
leaks to stop
meals to cook
under the same sliver moon
featured in slightly different skies
we reach towards
unnamed phenomenon:
the special kind of feeling honored
when someone tells you that you showed up
in their dreams last night
and the super special kind of feeling honored
when the appearances paint you
in the most brilliant light

tossing the colors

let me tell you the chain of events  i say to trish in the office and then go on:
first, i broke my favorte glass of all time
because it slipped out of my wet hand and onto the butcher block,
then i went down to the sugar shack to see how much sorghum we have left
and on my way out the door, i noticed the elderberries were ripe
so i picked and picked and picked and while walking out of the elderberry patch
i was stung by a wasp on the back of my thigh
but as soon as i looked down (what are the chances) i found some plantain that i chewed up and put on the sting
holding up each clothing article in the sally army shed in the almost too-dim lighting
for mica to check out from a slight distance
tossing the colors of several tomato varieties in a stainless steel bowl:
paul robeson, cherokee purple, juan de flamme, amish paste and cosmonaut volkov
how i can’t help but exclaim at the flavors
before mixing in the chopped onions and basil and a sploosh of vinegar and several small glugs of oil