dirt cake

the flash of lightning so bright
that even in the morning light
it shocks light through my closed eyelids
and then, the booming/cracking open
(of what sounds like the very ground around us)
in several parts
they put one of your snapdragons
over dennis’s heart emory tells me
about returning to visit dennis an hour or so
after he passed on
which makes me think about
the times when both poems and flowers
(two things i make) are
needed/necessary/leaned on/useful,
of which death is one
there is something bigger in this
that i cannot yet name
but feel reverberating
through me
trees grow slow
and trees grow strong
and trees sway with the wind
their whole lives long…
emory and i sing in the canoe
me in front in the paddle and he in back
with his fishing pole
(with bait on it without a hook)

how i take my shirt off
at the helm and emory
strips out of his blue paisley sundress
we haven’t jumped in the water yet
but you can bet we will
it works better if you say it like a clock i say
about emory behind me pointing to bullfrogs
and turtles so he says
bullfrog at three o clock and indeed
it is at three o clock and indeed
it is much easier to find
introducing sandhill
to an improv bio of rachel tucson
i begin with the enneagram and end with the fact
that we are the same height which makes
trish smile big

 i think we need these i say
carrying the tall blue glass (candy glass) jar
filled with a sharpie and four letter words
for temporary knuckle tattoos
mo and i both committing to
choosing only two and going with it
mine: dirt cake
hers: fire feed

how i laugh at the cloud to the east
in the oncoming sunset sky
that looks so much like a snail
(round shell home with body sliding along underneath)
when i realize the round shell home
is the almost-full moon
(something about the texture of it
and the color of the cloud)
makes moon and cloud appear
as if they are made of same stuff
group of what must be at least 15 mennonite boys/teens
lining both sides of the highway
where a bridge overlooks the tracks
how i nod and wave feeling like a real
weekend warrior in my spandies
and how, i’m moving too fast
to see if nods/waves are returned
but i do hear a dog barking which
makes me wonder if it is an actual dog
or a boy in his button up shirt barking at me
and the latter is confirmed
on my return when i pass them again
this time they are walking back to where they adventured in from
without a dog and yet
the barks as the sky powders above me
i mutter a fuck off under my breath and later
have fantasies about turning to pedal into them and then
squealing to a halt within inches from their
blue-jeaned knees and standing
tall/proud/unfuckwithable and saying something like
are you fucking kidding me!?
BARKING!? i aint gonna take that
(and then pulling some serious badass ninja moves here)
not now and not ever
and then zoom off, throwing dust as i recede

into a speck up some hill along the horizon line
the screech in the sky that draws my eyes skywards

and in the very same spot, on the return ride,
the (red tailed hawk?) cruising along on the air
above me before landing on top of the electric line post

first thunder

spooning cinnamony
10-grain hot breakfast cereal
(sweet with apple and maple and
leftover travel cranberries)
into my mouth i say
something about carelessness
with other people’s hearts
finger on emory’s tiny
(bottom jaw) loose tooth
wiggle it sideways he says
and i do

during appreciations
i thank friends from afar
for giving me grounding/perspective
and say something about how
good it is to know when
someone’s got my back

stirring oats and peanut butter
into melted coconut oil, vanilla, cocoa powder,milk and salt
while hum-singing along
to bon iver
lulu, mica and tyler
lounged near woodstove
and joseph drifting in
to butcher block where
emory and simon excavate
the frozen yogurt
the rain begins

first thunder! i write
on today’s calendar square
couch-perched on screened-in porch
to feel rainbreezes move through
and to watch what lightning does
to landscape
rain-on-metal-roof sound subsiding
to reveal underlying sounds
of spring peeper/chorus frog
dark-something p.m.
coyote howls arrive
in layers and waves

six red tickets

rainwet morning
how the moisture turns the wood in the stacks more orangey
brings out the yellows and browns in the winter gray
infuses the air with a balm
and brings me home (pacific northwest)

how much mica and i
both appreciate the fact that
her thera-putty (green)
matches my puffy vest (green)
neither of us say so
until after the fact


candy thermometer clipped to dutch oven
so that the oil doesn’t rise past 350°
while i drop batches of breaded rings of onion
in to sizzle and bob


cookshift playlist:
pj harvey (two albums: white chalk
let england shake)
timmy straw
perfume genius
nina simone


six red tickets on the cutting board
placed by stan
for the admittance to tonight’s big thing:
renay’s debut in the memphis high school play
one mad night


the taste of tic tacs on our tongues
as we whip around corners and
cruise over bridges
something about that sweet/vanilla before the mint hits
reminds me of childhood i say to trish who says
i would entertain myself for hours
filling those containers with water and
drinking out of them


this is definitely going into the details
trish says as we unpack ourselves from zoe’s minivan
though i can’t remember now what she was referring to
(perhaps the mini plume of smoke/dust
that rose from the pearl magnets
when they slammed together)


a single rumble of thunder
i say at the concession stand
where trish and i each put in a dollar
and walk away with starburst and rolos


offering trish the last chocolate-caramel delight
in the seats gigi saved with homemade reserved signs
printed on once-used paper
solo rolo? i say
from the water world:

A squash seller transports his wares to market in Fafamau village near Allahabad, India Picture: SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP

Riot police officers scuffle with visually-impaired protesters, threatening to set themselves on fire during a protest against a hiring freeze in the public sector, blocking a main street in Rabat, Morocco. – reuters

Oil spill response crews remove oil absorbent material placed on the beach between Stewart Beach and East Beach in Galveston, Texas. The material was placed on the stretch of beach as a precaution as cleanup continues after 168,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil spilled in to Galveston Bay. – the hindu

The muddied waters of the dammed North Fork Stillaguamish River mix with the cleaner South Fork flow in Arlington within Snohomish County, Washington. At least 25 people are known to have died when a colossal mudslide occurred unleashing a wall of earth that destroyed dozens of homes. – the hindu


silver vs. sugar (maple taste test)

not quite dream, but inhabiting dream hours:
sharp thundercrack
followed by a swift and heavy downpour
snaps me from sleep


7:30 am
the sound of a car on the gravel road
heading out for the dog and gun flea market
8:30 am
same sound
different car
(this one a diesel engine)

all this
framed by the luxury
of sleeping in
(a follow through on last night’s promise
to get adequate sleep
after too many nights of not enough)


and then, upon waking
a kind of quiet
as the sky sun-floods
(last nights cloudiness breaking away)
a sense of being the only one on the farm(which is almost true, minus one or two others)


the snap of two cleome stems
snipped from outside the greenhouse
plus a clump of whiteflowering buckwheat
clipped from covercrop
and a few purple clover flowers
gathered in the 9am quiet
and placed in an pint  jar
filled with water and set on the porch table


i don’t remember the name of any of the poses
but i remember how it feels
to hang like a bat
held up at my hips
by alyssa’s clay-dirtied feet


nuances i call them and details
the things that make the difference
between losing balance and
holding the flyer steady
in this acroyoga moment
it all depends on the placement of the feet
the angle of the toes/ankles
the position (stacked) of the legs


it isn’t until i am taking photos
with leti’s camera
in la casa
that i notice the yellow of the walls and
the glow of the sun falling in


fish emulsion
is the smell joe names
for the scent that cricket (the dog)
carried back on him from the pond

put him in the trunk!
put him in the trunk!
the kids chorus in the backseat
impossibly eating apples
while holding their noses


it’s been my best writing day ever
since i’ve been here i say
citing the weather
and the handful of chocolate chips as fuel
for reasons why
and not realizing
until tyler points it out
that it is also the first day
after sorghum season
(which means things like sleeping in
and spending the morning doing acroyoga
and spending the afternoon in my loft writing perch
where the sun fills the long window and lands on my arms)


sound of combines
humming into the night
from fields not far


when i ask molly about
the best biscuits i’ve had here yet
she mentions smitten kitchen
and how she used the yogurt (that joe makes from raw milk and stores in a gallon glass jar)
instead of buttermilk


alyssa, conductor of the maple syrup taste test
the contenders:
syrup from the silver maples of sandhill farm
syrup from the sugar maples of northern minnesota

mrs. butterworths we joke about the sugar maple
and minerals we joke about the silver


emory crashed out on front porch couch
wrapped in the spongebob squarepants snuggie
against night air slipping in through screens


from the water world:


Indian people watch high tide waves as they stand at the Bay of Bengal coast in Vishakhapatnam. Hundreds of thousands of people living along the eastern coastline were taking shelter from a massive, powerful cyclone Phailin. – voice of america, day in photos



A truck driver braves the raging floodwaters brought about by Typhoon Nari along a highway at San Ildefonso township, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines. At least 13 people have been killed after the storm battered across the northern Philippines, flooding villages and farms in the country’s major rice-growing region, officials said. – voice of america, day in photos



An unknown amount of oil is leaking into the Yongjiang River in the coastal city of Ningbo in east China’s Zhejiang Province after an oil tanker explosion that killed at least seven people, Xinhua News Agency reported. – voice of america, day in photos

everything you do is beautiful, denver colorado

pictures for words



lighthouse writers workshop
in the historic district on race street
on the front porch, the writing summer campers (grades 5-8)
on their lunch break
there is something simple and freeish in the space they are given between writing




IMG_9817 IMG_9826






another building on race street



denver public library
where i think about new eyes
which might be a name for an unnamed phenomenon
about the way a place looks the first time you’ve been there
the way the details come in clear
i think about these new eyes in the brushed steel walled elevator as we
rise to the sixth floor where we encounter an exhibit named the artistry of railroads







it isn’t until we get to red rocks that i remember a landscape
(summer 2008 the month i lived in boulder colorado)
it isn’t until we get to red rocks til the thunder rolls






olympia, washington

they’re all gathered around each other
micah says
pointing southeast on the atlas
flat under his palm on kitchen table
and later when he says you’re welcome
always (even in shiz’s absence)
i say wherever i am, ditto


soula’s fritatta in cast iron skillet
oveanbaked on one rack
10 pieces of sourdough toasting on the other
when we ask what we can do to help
she hands us a bowlful of blueberries


in a gathering of canadians and united statesians
it’s inevitable
that we talk about healthcare
and that the conversation
will be rich
and wise


there are things i would say
i laugh
kitchen stool perched
but i’m being nice right now
after i tell my two-part dream

about a royal wedding

when we drive off on holland street
i throw my hands out the passenger window
in a frantic wave to shiz
on the front porch at 642


snaking around the white apartment building
at jefferson and tenth
we find nikki behind door #16
across from mail slots
dark hallway leading to teal glitter guitar and
mini-doughnuts pulled from the warm oven


wherein we gather
at the artesian well
and how water draws
humans (young/old)
with bottles, cups or hands to drink from
plus dogs, (and puppies)
and banjo/harmonica playing and singing
folks who know each other passing greetings/call outs back and forth


first thunderstorm of summer:
mostly, it was all about sky
renaissance sunset clouds
blooming over state avenue
on our walk to burritos
then light streaking sky apart
split skin
smell of wet asphalt
nightcool air on bare legs
followed by a sit on otis’s front porch steps on glass street
honoring this summer coming alive


adell’s this is all you have
stencil art
bird on shoulder
tacked to yellow living room wall


there are repeated offers of nettle tea
and rest
from a force field of wellness witches
for a forty year old
and her liver


dear capitalism: it was never meant to be this way

1. half-pint quilted mason jar
water filled
backyard forget-me-nots
and scrub jay feather
blooming out

2. the tale of four-day work benders
destroying the body
then building it up
then repeat

3. a banishing spell
for dishpits
kitchen floor grease slicks
knifesore forearms

4. grating
fresh nutmeg
into a deep bowl
of steaming breakfast cereal
with a
blueberry bonus
turning yellowbrown grains

5. the fact
that people die
on their jobs
(or later
from cancer
because of materials they were exposed to
at their workplaces
or bodies
that never fully recover
from injuries
sustained at work)
kills me
every time.

has me saying
it was never meant to be this way
(4o years of work
three weeks to one month off
each year)
and again.

lunches eaten in cars
parked under the trees at nearby parks
lunches spent in tennis shoes
walking downtown blocks
for circulation and sun
from the same shit
we make lunches out of
for other people
so that the food we work with
no longer edible

under florescent light
in front of computer glow

that ache
after 5 days on
so that the two days off
are spent
in recovery

office workers
service industry workers
sex workers

doing the dirty work
the boring work
the work that keeps your house clean
the work that feeds you
the work that gets you off
the work that builds your houses
the work that you would never be caught dead
doing yourself

6.  a glass
of half finished water
left bedside

7. a bit of string
to add to the collection
which eventually
may grow large enough
to build
a human-sized nest

8. tonight
it’s supposed to thunder
if you hear it
i want you to think of me

9. besides
how good it feels
to hold a book
in my hands
to hear the sound of its pages
under my fingers
to underline
favorite phrases with a nubby pencil
and fold the corners over
with a mischevious finger,
the other reason
i do not believe
in digital books
is how these objects
hold histories.
and sunny afternoons
of read alouds
from page one
to page two hundred ninety four
through turbulunce
through cyclones of
that leave twisted sheets in their wake
read aloud across distances
and through the  movement of seasons

books that
when held in my hands
become the closest
i may
ever get
to reliving