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

sunflower summer 

wrestling ginormous weeds
(foxtail, lamb’s quarters, pokeberry and other six foot wonders)
from the pea beds we clear out
to plant fall carrots and beets
and afterwords we (kris, eric, baigz and i) are covered
in the drydusty earth we kicked up
incoming i call out as emory and eric
launch potatoes (fruits of last year’s spring planting experiment)
across the south garden beds we are in the process of making over
(de-trellising, weeding, removing mulch, hoeing up the beds and cutting furrows down the length of them
no need to walk when we can just swim wherever we need to go  i joke about
the thousand-percent humidity
the day has come to be made of
sunflower summer is what i call it
because of the great presence of towering glowing beauties
parading up the edges of beds in north garden
and along the greenhouse’s western wall
and some in south garden too
and a few popping up along the cistern and near the old north garden compost pile
the sound of aeresol cans being shaken
heard on the train bridge
where meat curtains becomes great curtains!
and cock becomes cock-a-doodle-doo! 
and where someone also asserts that
dj nasty pants like to party amongst other exclamations that simply state:
pool party
unnamed phenomenon: that time of year (here) where everything in its natural and wild state becomes just a bit too unbearable:
all the layers of the night insect chorus  so thick and intermittently piercing
woven tight and so loud
that ti’s difficult to hear beyond five or ten feet in any direction
the grass and weeds sprung up and gone wild
sometimes 10 feet into the air (pokeweed)
which means anytime one must walk past them (along the path in the herb garden to the shitter or up the stairs to the whitehouse or into karma or the bike shed or down the path to cool ranch or swimming deep in them while uprooting them in the old pea beds or cosmos beds or edamame beds) they brush against bared skin (which, at this time of year, is a lot) and it’s too much
one might say even the heat at this time of year (mid 90’s for four days straight – heat index registering at 105) is too much
the dark of a new-ish moon night
decorated by the trillings 
moving back and forth (call/response)
of eastern screech owls
who are my sweetest favoritest bird sound
of the summer 


from the water world:

Commuters use a rickshaw to cross a flooded street amid heavy rainfall in Dhaka, Bangladesh. – voice of america, day in photos

A man walks on the dry riverbed of the Ticino river in the Ponte delle Barche, Boats Bridge area, in Bereguardo, near Pavia, northern Italy, July 25, 2017.