Wednesday, October 02, 2019

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything.

If that's the truth, then I am a total wreck, and apologies are in order. Maybe. No. Take it or leave it, baby!

I'm not a list maker like everyone else in my family. My nose doesn't match. But every single time I catch myself in the mirror these days, I see my mother, and I miss her. Why didn't I see her in how I look when she was alive? It is just about breaking me. I avoid the mirror as much as possible.

Everything I do is pleached with grief. I'm not myself. I do not know what to do with my time, now that I have time. I can travel, and I've gone nowhere. I can audition, and I'm not showing up. I can sit and write sheafs of poems, and all I have are torn out pages from a steno notebook scattered all over my desk. I practice, and don't care about it, really. I started a crochet project just to stay up later at night.

Introspection is needed, rather than putting everything I do out there all the time, although as an Aries I'm not really good at being quiet.

I'm having interesting, symbolic dreams. I'm doing my best to just be. To be slow and be alright with that.

Yesterday I identified 73 different varieties of trees and plants on our property. I ate a yoghurt, and smeared some of that miracle serum on the "wrinkle of concern" between my eyes. I crocheted at a good clip. I didn't smile much. That is my way of "just being."

Wych Elm
Today I picked up five bales of hay for the goats, whacked my head on a beam in the barn (I'm fine), and spent a long time sweeping the seeds and hay out of the back of the car. I always feel like an amateur homesteader when buying hay or straw from a real farmer. Why, oh why did I get a manicure? What is the point? Purple fingernails? 

Five bale limit for our car!
I made a large mask in the art stall, testing out an idea.

One eye is a clock.
The other a sere heart.
It felt good to create. I have some ideas for it that I may or may not follow through with, given my current state. I made a mess of the space, I cried and yelled and wished I had a friend to play with, I was happy I was alone, I got covered in oil pastels and paint, and there were little bits of corrugated cardboard stuck to the bottoms of my feet. How I do anything is how I do everything.

My nose.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


You can lose your life here
or let go of it.

Take off the costume
of your over-amplified voice
squeezed through a funhouse mirror
for so many years even you
can't translate it anymore.

How is this yammer-hammer
of anxiety's bungee cord
holding your skeleton together?
Those winds of unknowing--
that blue grey paradise
in your fingertips,
surf of sorrow
like a slouched sock,
a lazed flamboyance you allow.

This is the scrumhum of sand
as it passes through the body,
your physical world.

Your whole life
you never heard
the sound of pages
turning in the background.

How impatient you always were
to just fill a page with words.
How exasperated your partial
circle of a heartbeat was.

No one is surprised
when you take off one mask
to put a different one on.
No one is surprised
by the sound of their two syllable
footsteps that say:
I am.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Just the Contents

There’s really nothing to report, just the contents
of these little boxes, objects almost absent,
lost in a landscape of pure bric-a-brac.
They were once filled by me, who has a knack
for forgetting where things really belong, their intent.

So lift the treasure chest lid with confidence
and find paperclips in a room without documents.
Who needs closure? Office supplies just show us
there’s really nothing to report.

A wooden box with a smooth top and a bent
latch holds a few Euros, money meant
for sunnier purses and glasses of cognac.
And this one, hand-painted with the blackest
of flowers holds a few matches, their fires spent.
There’s really nothing here that’s just content.

Poet's Note: Kind of a rondeau, but not really at all. A bit more of an unraveled doily.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


All the angels in me are tired
of the chain reactions
and plutonium triggers
of my wishbones.

They pant like dogs
in their bullet-proof vests.
Go out in the world, I say,
but they’ve read the headlines.

Better to sandbag my ribcage,
count my teeth and name them
like stars, chain-smoke and laugh
about their ghost stories.

They pull on the long rope
of my brain, uncoil, re-twist,
search for the films of
so ordinary and solo.

They’ve traded in their harps
for the skirl of harmonica,
light tin can fires at night
as the General stokes
the indigo bulb
between my eyes.

At daybreak, they startle, 
Why is she up so early?
They aim for my mouth
but shoot at my feet instead.

Go out in the world, they say.

I dance with this bomb
that is my body.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Sweet Beast

The half-formed idea is the thirteen legged beast I wrestle with everywhere these days. On trips to the supermarket I see a flash of its tail curl into aisle D, in the shower it hogs all the soap, and when I'm just drifting off to sleep it scratches me with a scaly toenail to say, "Hey, still here," as if I needed the reminder. I'm thinking of you, half-formed idea, all of the time.

It has no face. It has no name. Naming it would make it real, and it is not ready to be real yet. As un-whole (and unholy) as it is, it can be anything. All thirteen of its legs are full of potential. It may walk! It may run! It may fly! Maybe the legs are set to transform into wings. Or eggplants. Who knows? Who knows? Who knows?

I am building a one woman show with no words. I have just my body, and some props, which start to take on the feel of "visual aids" sometimes as I work, like I'm just handing these object ideas to the half-formed idea beast and it is holding them up for the class to see and wonder over. Here's an onion. It represents layers. Here's a ball of twine. It represents, I don't know, something. Ugh.

This is my creative process, and on good days I cheer myself on with the notion that having this restriction is a catalyst, not a conundrum.

I think my mother may feel the same way about her aphasia. It's kind of just right, building this show this way, a this time in my life. My mother's words are eroding, but we've developed a personal sign language for communicating. When vocabulary is evasive, movement speaks. Our pantomimes almost always end in some good laughs. Aphasia has moments of serendipity, and plenty of opportunities for creative problem solving. Sometimes she's up for that, and others, not. I get it.

Today I spent two hours rolling around on the floor of the garage, exploring Barteneiff's Fundamentals of Movement -- breath support, initiation, sequencing, alignment and connections, body organization, ground, weight shifts, spatial intent. It's great to know the terms, but I don't think of them as I move, I just move. I become more aware of how my body moves, how it changes in feeling as I walk or stand after experimenting. Today I felt a little like DaVinci's Vetruvian Man.

Then I got thirsty, distracted by heat, and my head pounded. The beast returned to drag me back to the hellscape of doubt, which I'm pretty sure is made up entirely of positive internet memes.

All functional movement is expressive. Think about that the next time you bend your neck to look at your phone, or pick up a chair and walk across a room with it. Your body is always telling a story, is always revealing your inner life, whether you like it or not. What a tattletale. What a sweet beast, the idea of the body as storyteller.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


This is version three of the original poem, "To Be Eligible,"which I wrote and shared the other day. I've been following my instinct to take the poem apart in different ways. This version uses press on lettraset lettering in the center rift, the gap, the river of no that separates the body of the second version of the poem, "Don't Cry." The process of making this version was physical and angry -- pressing down the letters to see them adhere the paper, blacking out all the space around the other words, creating a void.


Friday, June 22, 2018

To be eligible

for the tarpaper dream,
the rubble of glassy mouths,
our silent, violent, majestic home:

Keep your eye
on the eye
that watches you.
Don’t cry.

To be eligible
for once upon a time
and a sky not on fire:

Here is a stone
for your throat.
Don’t cry.

To be eligible
for happily ever after,
a path free of bombs:

Here is a feather
to replace your heart.
Watch it drift.

To be eligible
for the Mother of Exiles,
the glow of welcome,
open arms:

Set forth in section 101a
we have a history
of turning away.

We’ve collected your sun,
your son, your daughters,
for those who tinker
with status best,
revel in the forlorn
perfection of files.

To be eligible
we number your guilt
for wanting better:

You get one call
to your child.
He answers
but sounds
Or the phone
on this land is your land,
this land is my land

just rings
and rings
and rings.