he me we

the he that is him
the hymn that is he
i can’t see the he
without hearing him
i can’t hear the hymn
without seeing he

the you that is me
the me that is you
no longer in me
no longer in you
always the me
always the you

the we that is them
the them that is wee
no longer the we
that was them
the them
diminished to wee



one bad apple

The “what if” game. It’s not a fun one to play or a good one to even consider. But, sometimes… We trick ourselves on a daily basis trying to make the importance of each little tiny decision fade or rise forth in the sea of minutiae that creates our waking existence. Decisions like what color shoes to wear, tea or coffee, sandwich or yogurt, granny smith or gala, fade so easily and others, oh others come pounding on the door minutes, days, weeks, midnights later. What is the chemical shift in our brains? Why does the synapse fail and leave logic homeless wandering in the cerebral cortex alone and cold? Wernicke certainly left a fire burning in the small area he carved out. In the millions of innocent and seemingly inconsequential turns and corrections we navigate, how is it that one bad apple, one single rotten spot can spoil the whole bunch? I don’t know and yet, I think I’m done with apples.



stitching the words together

In college, a poetry professor gave us an assignment for a take home exam that told us to take the last line of any poem and use that line for first line of a new poem we were to write. I loved this challenge and from it came a dark poem that I didn’t know was inside me. Sometimes I think about lines and verses becoming my first line of a story, a poem, a conversation. Here are a few of some that reverberate in my mind often. And stitched together they might even stand as a poem.

those who find themselves ridiculous sit down next to me

and I want life in every word
to the extent that it’s absurb

baby you’re a lost cause

and I think it’s gonna rain today

kiss me goodnight and tell me my prayers

do you carry every sadness with you,
every hour your heart was broken,
every night the fear and darkness lay down with you?

because you’re mine, I walk the line

and I will try to fix you

they say guilt can penetrate the thickest walls

falling down’s as common as the rain

where there’s now one there will be two



i feel a chill

I recommend zinc to anyone who says, "I think I'm getting a cold." They always ask me how much they should take to which I tell them that I have no idea that it's probably OK to just overdose on it. I say this with a hint of joking thinking that you can't overdose on zinc because it's a mineral or vitamin or something good for you. I was wrong about that.

It started Friday morning at 5am with the throat thing. You know, the throat thing that is always the first sign. Two days prior I thought it was coming, but each day I forgot the zince and then Friday, wahbam, the throat thing hit. I started immediately, even at 5am, with the zinc and continued for every meal that day with a dose of zinc. Then next day when the cold had come to set up permanent residence in my throat and nose, I read the zincebottle. It said, "Make sure that you do no take more that one tablet a day!" Whoops! I had already taken two and was working on the third when I read that.

Death by zinc. If I wind up with some wierd condition, at least we'll know why. The good news, of course, is that the symptoms have been very mellow. I'm telling you. Take the zinc.



bells will be ringing

I rarely get the chance to hear the guy’s side of the story. The girl is usually the friend of mine and her version always comes first.

“It was so hard not to mention something when we went out to dinner this week,” he called this evening from out of town, the strange area code was the first clue. They were at her parent’s house where he had asked for permission. Then, this morning, in the guest bedroom, when she came to wake him up, he popped the question. As he told me I oohed and ahhed. It seems like the perfect low-key way to me, something simple, unpretentious, close to family even. Sounds good to me. I’m excited for him and her and glad I got to here his side of it because in his version, you get the thinking and planning and a little hint of his anticipation and that is always the sweetest part of the story.



what’s black and white and red all over?

“When you go, you have to go,” said Anne, a soft-spoken woman from High Point, North Carolina. She knows her stuff and her stuff is fabric and pattern and how it can come together to tell the story of a room. The room in question is my bedroom and soon, very soon it will be a boudoir with red silk curtains to the floor.

It all happened unexpectantly. My mother took me to a fabric store just to look and soon after arriving, I was bored and done. I love fabrics, but my wallet doesn’t and so I was practicing restraint until my mother said something like, “Let me buy you something and I’ll make the curtains.” From there it went on and on.

Anne decided that I also needed a bed skirt and even though I told her that the red plaid she picked was too much for me she quietly walked by me again, laid down her red sample and said, “I know you’re nervous about this, but I’m just going to tell you it would look great,” and walked away.

I still didn’t budge. There is a point in a red bedroom when it becomes a brothel and Anne, very kindly, was leading me down that path. “You could choose an accent color.” And with this my eyes popped open.

“Black!” I almost screamed.

“Well, yes,” she said quietly and went about finding black samples. And the winner was another silk number. I told her no frillies, no ruffles. I want straight lines and rich colors that will make me happy and not make men cringe because what boy wants to walk into a red bedroom filled with bows and ruffles?

She also suggested an oriental rug, which will come, in time. And the current red rug and black dresser and red toile duvet cover all blend seamlessly. My mom thinks she’ll be done with the curtains in 2-3 weeks and I’ll show you pictures. It’s the room I had originally dreamed of when I moved here: black, white, and red all over.



when you wake up

Sometimes it just dissipates, disolves into something that is no longer recognizable, soemthing that is anything but tangible. And I don't like the dissipation, the disolution, the discongruent paths. And then you question everything how easily it is to fall into friendship and how easily scared people can get. You think you are the scaredest one in the world, but when it comes to this time you felt sure of friendship and then the dissipation factors came and took it away and now you're left with your head in your hands and no answers to questions you never got to ask in a friendship you were hoping would start, but never did.

And hours away, a driving distance, he sat, unknown to me, with people who still can't pull him out of himself. I want to be the one who can, who does, but he won't let me. He's more scared than I could ever understand of scared. He's hiding and maybe when I sleep tonight, I'll find him across the world in California in his desert home, lapping up sand and dust in his Xbox ladened layer, a boy's house with boy's things and so untouched by me, so not what I could help him crawl out of.



free write- the first line was given

There’s a bar in Austin, TX called “Jake’s Place” that I may never see because I didn’t make the reservations for the flight. I hesitated and the hesitation grew into something I couldn’t control. It became a pause, an interruption in the plans. My mind was working overtime trying to sort and organize this life that up and going somewhere didn’t fit into the actualization of everything I needed to happen. I’ve been traveling all my life it seems, somehow escaping the reality that is my own stillness. And so I sat still and moved only within the walls of this house, this foursquare apartment, this holder of my things, the habitat for the recovering. I’m not sure what I’m recovering from anymore given that the scars were uncovered years ago and seemingly healed, but there is something that resists the stillness, something that wants me to keep moving or at least visiting places like Austin, TX. I will get there, I know I will just like I will get to Italy and Africa, but first I have to be OK with being standing still on my own because if I can’t stand still by myself, I have little faith that I’ll be able to stand still with someone else.



on this day

Who can speak for those who were lost? I wouldn’t dare try, but if it were me who was missing, me who was so carelessly erased, I would want one thought to reverberate in the minds of those who thought of me.

Without judgment or hatred or blame, sit still and ask yourself, “What have you learned?”



this is the truth

“Annie, I know the truth about what you do,” said the five year-old. This was after a round of battles where she proclaimed, “You don’t know anything,” as a retort to my rap that went like this:

I know everything.
I know everything.

After I gasped and said, “I can’t believe you would say such a thing to your Annie,” her face scrunched up in half smile, half shame. She was sitting on her father’s lap and trying to align herself with him since he was the one who initially said something about me not knowing anything. Then after a few rounds of my song and her shouting that I knew nothing, she proclaimed she knew the truth about me.

“What,” I said expecting a really good five year-old smart-alecky comment.

“You love the best.”



i went out walking after midnight, out in the moonlight just like we used to do

It’s quite interesting the things you can learn about people just by walking past their house. Today I spied two toothbrushes in a cup on the windowsill above a kitchen sink. That’s an indication of a house I’d rather not have a meal in. Who brushes their teeth in the kitchen sink? And who wants to see that right before they bite into some homemade lasagna?

And then there are the people who are building additions onto already enormous houses. What? Did you plan on hosting a refugee family from the Sudan? Why exactly do you need 25 rooms on a street with 4 bedroom houses?

Sometimes I don’t understand our American need for space, our need to own and dominate and lay down our authority in a physical manner. Is it something we breed or is in inherent in the human spirit? I think it’s an American thing, a greedy, capitalist thing. And don’t worry, I buy into it. I have a spare room and a sunroom. Please, I should be housing a refugee family. I realize it and yet I don’t understand my desire to spread out, to be able to roam and dance through rooms. Why do I feel I need to do this?

This all came about on a walk. Amazing how the mind can wander. And I’ve decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the whole world were on a soundtrack so that if you started singing in the middle of the street, it wouldn’t look so strange.



new sharpened pencils

It’s fall. Not officially, of course, that doesn’t happen until the 21st, but in my book the beginning of school equals the beginning of fall.

There is something about the smell of September when you finally get to open the windows for hours then days at a time. The smell of September is a hint that nature gives us, a signal of a turning point that changes are afoot, new things and old things, beginnings and endings. To describe the subtle shift would be difficult and a little too greedy, but it has undertones of old wood and tired grass and lasting rain and inside the smell there are memories of deep colors, garnet and umber, and of warmth and cool mornings and the sun sinking low. To say that I wait all year for things to die and fall away is not wrong or morbid. I’m just waiting for fall to appear and it has, it’s coming just now.



free write- vapidity

I feel vapid. It’s the best way to describe it, hollow, without. I like the word too. It sounds important and heavy and like it has something to do with the heart, the physical, not the metaphysical one. Though both hearts would be appropriate right now. It’s how I feel- a bit spent, a bit left on the side of the road, a bit washed out. Vapid, vapidity, vapidness, vapidly. I’d like to describe this day as vapidly moving along, maybe even this life. Oh, that doesn’t sound good and it’s not what I mean. I feel like I’ve lost my center a little. And I think it’s because I’m not lost in a book. In the six months since my reading stint started I’ve discovered my harbor, my cloud in the heavens, and it’s books. That sounds so bookwormish, so boring, but it’s true. Books have given me more grounding in these last few months than anything else. Oh, and I’m not dissing anyone, but when I feel lost like this, when the vapidity is all around I know it’s because I am not in the middle of a story, someone else’s. What does that mean, vapidity comes when someone else’s story is not upon me? That doesn’t sound good. That sounds like I’m escaping and it’s not unlike what my friends say. They tell me I’m hiding in my books. I change the subject, but I know they are more right than I am and it’s why we are friends, for the mirrors, for the truths we shine upon each other. They are my opposite of vapid, they are my antonym.



bored brainless

I have no work tomorrow and so the smart thing to do would have been to make plans for tonight, but no, I didn't. Sometimes I can get so excited about the quiet, about stillness, that I forget that after awhile it drives me nuts. I've been bored for most of the day and I stupidly didn't think to call someone. I just stare at the wall and wallow in my boredom. Sucks. So, tonight I made recordings. Most of them died, but this one I kept, not because it was good, but becasue I felt I sounded stupid enough to share it with you. Sometimes, I like to make no sense. Go ahead, have a listen .



shelter in a storm

Ernesto, what a strange name, but I'm getting to know him well. He started knocking on my door last night and hasn't left my house just yet. I'm glad this hurricane season has been so tame and that even Ernesto is not as bad as he threatens, but he's gotten me out of work early and displaced some lives. One of them is now with me and I'm in love. Her name is Kelsey. She's small and round and you can tell she's excited because her whole body shakes. You can't mistake that she wants to be around you, constantly. She's the mother of several children, but I couldn't take in her youngest son, he was a little rambuncous. I just got her and I'd be OK if she needed to stay with me for a long long while, even forever. I've never been an "emergency pet shelter" before, but I kind of like it. And I think Kelsey is pretty happy too. We've already napped and she follows me everywhere, her tail wagging her whole body. And I've caught her on the sofa once and when I told her to get down she ran to me and put her tiny little paws on my leg and just begged for forgiveness. I can't hold it against her, she's displaced and probably wondering where her child is. I'm happy to have her, and I love her warm little face, her ears like velvet, her tiny nose pushing my hand to pet her. I'm just in love.

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