love hard, grieve hard

the thinnest layer of snow
plus air so cold
it crunches in that certain
single digit temperature
kind of way
raw quesadilla she jokes
about the unheated corn tortilla
with the unmelted cheese
folded in

the joke awards we’d win:
me: best parlor game player in the universe
lisa: hottest body
jennifer: fastet thinker
joel: best non louisianna-dwelling white zydeco accordion player

tamara laughing about
the camo teddy in wyoming
you wouldn’t be able to see me she says
without a safety orange hat on

been swinging this heart hinge open all my life i say
i love hard, i grieve hard

she was like the ocean i say
too unpredictable and me
wanting too much to be her/like her

the teaspon of coconut oil turning
from waxy white and solid to 
shiny melty
in my palm
from the water world:

Children transport drinking water in a village devastated by flash floods in Pansor, Salvador town, Lanao del Norte, in southern Philippines. – voice of america, day in photos


tough, sweet and dying

and somehow, the sadness for gibbous (who i’ve been calling the incredible shrinking cat, and about whom the vet says losing muscle mass and the thing to do now is just keep him comfortable and white blood cell count isbelow below normal),
somehow, the sadness and slow deep cry at-the-edge-of-sleep for this tough and sweet and dying cat
is a sadness for everything
(the loss of every once-lover, the current swirls of awkward upheaval, the thirteen-year-old yesterday writing about thsi unnecessary war, the forest this notebook was made from and the materials gouged from the earth that make this machine go)
in the room there is only the rectangle blast of overhead flourescent light
it is the only smell
the only taste
the only feeling
when the vet says the thing about the white blood cells – how the number is not even 1, but a .0something

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

low and leaning

zoe keating’s cello layered over cello layered over cello
sounds swirling through room and in my ears
as i zig zag stitch the straps of black elastic
there is grief in everything including
the slow creak/groan
of the trees outside karma – the sound only bark on bark could make
low and leaning, gradual

mica and i walking down the back road
doing the plantar-faciatis pain-easing walk
(not swaggery or bouncy, but, the blues dance stance – butt out)
laughing as we go
under a hazey there-are-forest-fires-somewhere oranging sun
all the pain cramming itself in against skull
the ache of all there is to ache about
it hurts to say and it hurts
to not say
i wanted to open windows
i wanted to move things – drag them and shove them out the door 
she says
everything was so still


ashby the grey black stripey farm cat
who really wants to be an indoor cat
(though he also wants to go on long walks/adventures)
scratching at the window screen
(universal cat language for let me in
and the kerthump of him landing
when i allow him passage

woven with green

the sound of big white chunks of salt
hitting a paper plate
as i rub them off before ripping soft pretzel pieces apart
and dipping them in the small plastic ramiken of ‘cheese’
a throwback to my work breaks
in the kmart eatery
the wild edge of sorrow
 sharon says as we walk the mown path
past the old homestead
whose main feature at this point
is the metal windmill woven with green leafy vines that climb up
and back down again
it’s beautiful  i say from the bench
alongside dennis’s grave
where sharon and i sit
sometimes holding hands
the rituals you have chosen
you are showing us
how to do this

the great golden and slightly pink light
(which makes me think of that rose gold jewelry)
showing in the west
while a sprinkle of rain pitter pats down
which registers as the recipe for rainbows and sure enough,
visible through a clearing in the canopy down by the sugar shack
just a part of the arc showing through
roygbiv in full effect

like an egg

_______i’ve been having dreams about it (leaving, getting out)
and i never remember my dreams she says
how i make jokes about mushrooms and rainbows
and nebulizers and contact high farts
in the back seat
while we move through the wet green rises and falls
of the hills that make us
the grief i sit on 
like an egg
and how i practice passing it around
and how it mostly feels horrible
which is why i call it practice

the tufts of white and orange fur
that drift in the air after gibbous (cat) pounces on mama (cat)
for the second time in a week or two
the subject of cannibalism comes up and i say
ya’ll can eat me
as long as i get to eat the cake

the sound of spring peepers rising
everywhere in the dark
that comes at the end
of a day
hazelnutty flavor of the teaccino i brew/steep
in the french press i aqcuired at the quincy salvation army for a dollar

a kind of surrender

the palmful of bobbe’s new mexico
blue corn seed that i funnel with an
open palm into the tiny manila envelope
that liana holds open

the tour includes but is not limited to:
the impressive piles of wood, hand chopped
seta’s smile and how she’ll crawl under the tunnel of human legs
the curve and wind of the acequia ditch
and what is guessed to be the three graves of a pet cemetery
that they have decided to leave alone

michelle tugging me to the counter
insisting she pays the artist’s way
to a northern new mexico 
calabacita enchilada meal
and later the trinkets from turkey
(the blue glass eye that is watching, 
the small notebook with the leopard print-clad
man on a horse on the cover and the 
shiny yellow fabric pouch that it all fits in)
that she shares

the squeezy goodbye hug
and how i call
love you! i call out the window
to the farm-dirty twosome
walking down the road past the
tiny co-op and ice cream shop
as we drive out, towards the river and away again
the way i lean in towards
(a kind of surrender) the mountain-melt
of the cold clear rio grande
and al the gray brown gold rocks
that color it
same kind of leaning
same kind of surrender
i might offer
a lover
the incredible dark blue of the jemez
with the incredible sifting of snow
on top under today’s incredible sun
as we drive south in the glow
the plane that david folds
from a piece of orange paper
on which he writes
come on over,
you’re welcome here
it’s our grief i say your grief is my grief
to molly who is overcome with it all
and, really, how are we not all
overcome all the time these days
seems to be a relevant question
and we could be comrades i say to terry
after the workshop
while we joke about me living here
and teaching creative writing at
the community college where she works

from the water world:
Floodwaters surround a playground in San Jose, California. Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes in the northern California city as floodwaters inundated neighborhoods and forced the shutdown of a major highway. – voice of america, day in photos